Braylon Edwards is back at a place he calls home.
The wide receiver, who's nursing a hamstring injury, competed in his first practice with the Jets this afternoon after returning to his former squad via waivers on Tuesday..
"I always wanted to come back," he said.
Up until the beginning of this week, Edwards had spent the 2012 season with Seattle until being waived Monday. Before being released, the 6"3', 214-pounder played in 10 games and had eight catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.
"The health is good," No. 17 said. "Obviously I have a hamstring tweak, but we've been getting after it with rehab. The training staff has been doing a tremendous job the day and a half that I've been here."
Edwards said the injury occurred on the final offensive play of regulation in the Seahawks' 23-17 overtime win at Chicago on Dec. 2.
"I was running a corner route and I got pushed off my route and put a left foot in there to catch myself," he said.
At practice this afternoon, Edwards was reunited with quarterback Mark Sanchez, someone he admits he never lost contact with. Sanchez was thrilled when he received confirmation that his former teammate would be returning.
"It's great news," No. 6 said. "It's exciting to have somebody like that back. We'll work him in slowly and hopefully get him ready to play."
Sanchez and Edwards developed a strong connection during the Green & White's back-to-back AFC Championship Game seasons in 2009 and '10. Edwards hauled in 88 receptions and 11 touchdowns in those two seasons and Sanchez feels his former target still has the capabilities to be a dominant threat.
"He's one of those guys that just knows how to run routes," Sanchez said. "He's played a long time. He understands coverages and he picks up things quickly. He'll pick up this system fast and he's a sharp guy."
"I think that's good that the quarterback is familiar with the receiver," head coach Rex Ryan said. "The receivers, all they have to do is run the route and catch the ball, so I don't think it matters who's throwing it. For a quarterback there's a comfort level, and quite honestly, with the receivers there are connections with the quarterback. Receivers will want a ball in certain areas. And if I'm running a slant there, maybe a receiver wants the ball in front of him, maybe wants it higher, maybe some that want it lower. I think obviously, spending two years here, Braylon should have that kind of connection or rapport with Mark."
Edwards was limited at practice due to the injury, but he did run some routes with Sanchez and backup quarterback Tim Tebow under center.
"I think he's still got it," Sanchez said.
Along with his ability to block and stretch the field, the former Michigan Wolverine should also provide some veteran leadership. Santonio Holmes was a veteran presence at the WR position, but he suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 4 against San Francisco.
Edwards said he never saw himself returning to the Jets after he didn't receive a phone call from the organization this past offseason, adding that he mentally had moved on. But now that he's officially back, he senses a similar vibe this time around, just like the one he experienced during the end of that 2009 regular season.
"We didn't even think we were going to get in the playoffs," he said, "and lo and behold we got to the AFC Championship."
While the Jets still have plenty of work to do to reach the playoffs, it isn't an impossible task. Edwards is hopeful his health will continue improving over the next few days and that he'll be cleared to play Monday night when the Jets visit the Tennessee Titans.
The expectations for his second stint with the Green & White are clearly high, and he doesn't plan on backing down from them.
"I feel good," Edwards said. "I feel like I have the same speed. I feel like I still have the same strength, if not better. And I still have that understanding of the game, being in year eight. I've seen a lot. I'm ready, and you'll get a chance to see it when I get out there."