HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Aug. 30, 2005) -- Shaun Ellis gave John Abraham a big hug and hearty welcome when they saw each other for the first time.
"It's good to have you back," Ellis told his fellow Jets defensive end.
Abraham returned to practice Aug. 30, one day after signing his one-year, $6.7 million franchise tender. About the only thing that was different was his number: Abraham switched from No. 94 to No. 56, taking the jersey from rookie Dennis Haley.
He had always wanted to wear 56 -- for his birthday, May 6 -- but it was always taken in his first five years with the team. With his new number on his back, Abraham had some of his same tricks when it got time to do some drills.
"He looks good, strong, I know he can run," coach Herman Edwards said. "We had a good talk about the program we're going to put him on. He wants to play in the opener, he'll play in the opener, we'll see how many snaps he can play."
Abraham won't suit up for the exhibition finale Sept. 1 against Philadelphia, but is geared up for the opener at Kansas City on Sept. 11. Bryan Thomas will start at defensive end, with Abraham probably playing on pass rushing situations.
He said it felt great to be back with his teammates, who gave him an ovation when he came onto the field.
"I practiced well," Abraham said. "I'm ahead of the game, but I really haven't been banged around yet."
That will come. In a moment of levity toward the start of practice, Abraham emerged from inside the practice bubble onto the field. Edwards yelled at him to speed it up because he had fresh legs.
Abraham then crouched over and said, "I'm tired!"
"Everybody's been in camp for a month, he just showed up," Edwards said. "Next week, he'll hit that period where his legs will feel tired, but he'll get it back."
For now, Abraham vowed to put the past behind him.
"I had chips on my shoulder every year," Abraham said. "I'm tired of all the chips."