Chris Herndon Feels 'Great,' Hopeful of Making '19 Debut Sunday

HC Adam Gase Seeing Burst & Confidence This Week from TE Coming Off Hamstring Injury


One of the bad things about this stretch of the Jets' season has been the multitude of injuries that have collided with the team.

But then one of the good things about the injuries is that not every one of those players goes on IR. Eventually some injured players return to action, and that's happening now.

DL Henry Anderson returned to action last week. LT Kelvin Beachum sounds as if he could suit up again Sunday vs. the Giants.

And TE Chris Herndon is very close to making his 2019 debut.

"I feel great," Herdon told reporters in the Jets' Atlantic Health Training Center locker room following today's practice. "I've just been staying on top of it, even going in after practice and still getting treatment on it. I'm just taking care of it, maintaining it, trying to strengthen it as well."

"It" is Herdon's hamstring pull. Coming on the heels of his four-game NFL suspension, the hammy that he at first thought was just some minor tigthening has prevented him so far from playing in his first game of the season. He was activated for the Dolphins but head coach Adam Gase decided to ease him back by suiting him up but keeping him out of action in Miami.

Herndon continues to bide his time for the time when his number is finally called.

"I went through those stages week by week with it," he said. "It was a good, decent process. But after practicing this week, running routes fully, blocking fully, doing special teams as well, I think I feel pretty good.

"Right now I'm just going to continue to do what they ask of me and whatever decision they make come gametime, I'll be ready."

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Gase sounded cautiously optimistic.

"We're seeing how the next day goes. He felt good, he looked good yesterday," the coach said. "He looked different to me yesterday. He looked way more confident running. I saw him burst, kind of saw a little more of what you saw in training camp, where the week before I felt like it was almost like holding back, 'Can I really juice it up?' Yesterday was the first time that he looked like the guy I saw in the spring and in training camp.

"We're just going to keep going along one day at a time, see how he feels today, see how he feels the next day. Once we get to Sunday, hopefully we get him back out there."

Herndon is not a cureall for what has ailed the Jets' offense, but conversely his addition would not be insignificant. As a fourth-round rookie last year, he broke out with 39 receptions for 502 yards (12.9 yards/catch, 4.5 YAC avg.), 25 first downs and four touchdowns. The yardage and TDs particularly were reminiscent of Dustin Keller's average production from 2008-11.

If Herndon can be folded in with Ryan Griffin, who has emerged the last two games as another reliable receiver, that could be a boost for QB Sam Darnold and the offense.

Could be. But for now, everyone — Herndon, Gase, tight ends coach John Dunn, the Jets' trainers and doctors — is taking it slow and steady.

"I've been itching to get back out there. At the end of the day, this is the sport I love, that I've loved for years, so not being able to be out there has definitely been crushing to me," Herndon said. "But I've continued to stay in my playbook and be a great teammate to everybody that is playing.

"Whatever part of the game plan they have me in, if they decide to let me go, I'll just do the best that I can and make the most of any opportunities."

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