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Jets Release Punter Steve Weatherford

Former Green & White Punter Returned to Fill In for Injured Ryan Quigley in a Pinch at New England


Updated, 2:15 p.m. ET

The Jets have released punter Steve Weatherford.

To take Weatherford's place on the active roster, the Jets have signed offensive lineman Wesley Johnson from their practice squad. Moving into Johnson's practice squad spot is linebacker Quanterus Smith.

Weatherford, the veteran free agent who was the Jets punter in 2009-10, was signed Saturday when punter Ryan Quigley arrived at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center with a bruised right shin. He made the team flight to New England and punted against the Patriots on Sunday, averaging 40.3 gross yards and 30.8 net yards on four punts.

He also held for kicker Nick Folk's placements, as he did in the 2010 season when Folk set a personal and franchise distance record with his 56-yard field goal at Denver. Against the Pats, Folk was 3-for-3 in his field goals, including a 55-yarder with 18 seconds to play.

"He did OK," head coach Todd Bowles said Monday. "Obviously, he is going to be a little rusty because he probably hadn't punted in a while. I know working out is one thing but going out there every day and just practicing your craft is another. But under the circumstances, I thought he did OK."

As far as his punter for this Sunday's game at Oakland, Bowles said, "I'll see how Quigley's health looks on Wednesday." With Weatherford's release, it appears Quigley is feeling better and ready to return.

Johnson (6'5", 297) was acquired off waivers from Pittsburgh in October 2014 and spent the final 10 weeks of the season on the Jets' active roster, although he was inactive for all 10 games. He played in 145 offensive plays this preseason, was a final cut Sept. 5, and was signed to the practice squad the next day.

Smith (6'5", 250) was the fifth-round selection (No. 146 overall) by Denver out of Western Kentucky in 2013. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a torn ACL suffered in college. In 2014 he played 15 games (no starts) for the Broncos with 11 tackles and two pass defenses before going on IR again this past Jan. 10 with a left knee injury. Smith was waived by the Broncos after failing his physical in April.

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