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Jets hopeful Holmes plays in opener

09/06/2013 5:56 PM ET
By The Associated Press

The Jets are still unsure if Santonio Holmes will be ready for Tampa Bay.(AP)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Santonio Holmes could complete his comeback Sunday.

Rex Ryan remained optimistic that the veteran wide receiver, listed as questionable for the New York Jets' season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will make his return from a foot injury that sidelined him most of last year.

Holmes was limited at practice Friday after getting a day off, and it's possible he could be active on a limited basis for the game Sunday.

"I'm hopeful he plays," Ryan said, "because he is a difference-maker."

Holmes seriously injured his left foot last September, and needed two surgeries to repair it, including one in February to remove screws. He has gradually increased what he can do, including running routes and cutting, but said Wednesday that he still wasn't close to being at 100 percent.

Holmes added that his availability could come down to being a game-time decision.

"That's, I guess, what questionable would mean," Ryan said. "What is it, a 50-50 chance or something like that?"

Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates and Ryan Spadola, an undrafted rookie, are the only other receivers on the active roster.

Nose tackle Kenrick Ellis is also questionable with a back injury that has limited him in practice. Damon Harrison would start in Ellis' place, as he did for much of the preseason.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez (right shoulder) and linebacker Quinton Coples (right ankle) were ruled out earlier in the week.

Top cornerback Antonio Cromartie was limited for the third straight day with a sore hip, but will play.

NOTES: With four QBs on the roster, Ryan acknowledged that the team is "heavy at that spot" and didn't rule out a roster move. Sanchez is out with a shoulder injury, but recently signed Brady Quinn could potentially be cut before the game and re-signed next week, preventing Quinn's contract from being guaranteed. Matt Simms will be Geno Smith's backup Sunday, and Ryan normally doesn't like having three QBs dressed for games. ... Ryan told ESPN Radio on Friday morning that "our team is going to be a heck of a lot better than people think," and added that the dim projections for the Jets is "comical." When asked about those comments, Ryan didn't back down. "I think we're going to get ready to find out," he said. "I think, within the next six, seven days, we'll know a lot about this football team." After Sunday's game, the Jets play at New England next Thursday night. ... During an interview with ESPN Radio, GM John Idzik said the criticism of Ryan going to Clemson to watch his son play last Saturday was "overblown." Idzik reiterated that the team had done most its work for cut-down day on Friday night, and Ryan stayed in touch frequently Saturday. "It was commendable that Rex was able to do it," he said.

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