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Jets sign Wadsworth, out of NFL since 2000

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (March 26, 2007) -- The New York Jets signed defensive end Andre Wadsworth, out of football since 2000, to a contract.

The 32-year-old Wadsworth, the No. 3 overall pick by Arizona in the 1998 draft, hasn't played in the NFL in six seasons after undergoing multiple knee operations.

His rookie year was his only full season, and he was then hampered by the knee problems. Wadsworth had three operations on his right knee and one on the left when the Cardinals opted to not pick up the last three years of his six-year contract when they released him in 2001.

Because of the health issues, Wadsworth appeared in just 36 games in three seasons, starting 30. The former Florida State standout has 119 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries and one interception in his career.

Wadsworth walked on to the Seminoles and developed into what was thought to be a can't-miss NFL prospect when he was drafted after quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.

He was expected to join a Cardinals defensive line that featured three first-round selections: Wadsworth, tackle Eric Swann (1991) and end Simeon Rice (1996). But Swann also had knee problems, and Rice and tackle Mark Smith were considered malcontents. As a result, the four never took the field at the same time.

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