Former Bills wide receiver David Nelson was signed by the Jets on Wednesday after being brought in for a workout last Tuesday to bolster a wide receiver corps that has been depleted by injuries.
Nelson was limited to just one game with the Bills last year after he suffered a torn ligament in his right knee. But in the two years prior to the injury, he was beginning to piece together a relatively solid career and had shed the stigma of being an undrafted rookie free agent. In 2011, he played in all 16 games with 13 starts and had 61 receptions for 658 yards and five touchdowns. But the injury from last year squelched all that progress.
“The biggest thing was they wanted to see my knee. The playing part, I've played against them for three years so they know that,” Nelson said. “But they wanted to see the explosion and check it out and make sure that I was fine.”
As far as the injury, he said right now it is “all about maintenance and making sure that both legs are the same strength and same condition.”
He spent training camp and preseason with the Browns but was cut on Aug. 31 when an unrelated injury kept him out of three preseason games, limiting his opportunity to showcase his ability. The Jets two top receivers this year, Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes, both emerged from Sunday's loss at the Titans with injuries.
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Nelson possesses good size to be a potential red-zone threat. While he doesn't have the 4.54-second 40-yard dash speed from his Pro Day at Florida before the NFL Draft, he should be fast enough to help stretch the field. To make room for Nelson, the Jets cut wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who never really distinguished himself with the Jets.
It looks like Nelson could be ready for Monday night at the Falcons. Head coach Rex Ryan called him a “very capable receiver” during his Wednesday press conference.
“He's a veteran guy, I mean you have got to get him up to speed in a hurry,” Ryan said. “I have no idea how much he knows of this system or anything else right now. But I know we had to defend against him [in the past].”
Nelson also had a workout with the Patriots before the Jets signed him and another with the Chargers late last week.
“It was my understanding that workouts are to bring you in and look at you,” Nelson said. “And whenever you get that opportunity and they need somebody they'll bring you in. Guys always pack and expect to be signed but you kind of come in just to show what you do.”
Jets notes ...
» In addition to signing Nelson and cutting Obomanu, the Jets signed linebacker Troy Davis to the practice squad. They released former Hofstra running back Kareem Huggins from the practice squad in a corresponding move.
» The Jets aren't ready to rule out Holmes or Hill for Monday night, with Ryan saying it is “hypotehtical.” If those two can't play, Ryan said Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates will be the next men up.
» Wednesday represented Mike Goodson's return to the field after starting the season suspended for the first four games after his summer arrest. It isn't inconceivable the running back could make his season debut in Atlanta.
“We'll see as the week goes on. Clearly he hasn't done any football work,” Ryan said. “We'll see where he's at [in terms of] conditioning.”
Goodson is currently on the active exempt roster so he can practice with the team but in order to play on Monday, the Jets would need to cut a player.
» Jets rookie tackle Oday Aboushi rode the exercise bicycle on Wednesday but rumors that he would be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in practice last week are unfounded.
“It's nothing that serious,” Aboushi told Metro. “I hope to be back out there by the end of the week.”
Aboushi says it was just an awkward landing.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.