- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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"I have a great deal of respect for (Burress) and obviously he had eight touchdown catches for us last year. There were some things he did really well for us. We're trying to look for guys maybe a little younger and a little more speed," Ryan said.
"When you look at Hill, the guy we just signed, he has those attributes and that's what I think jumped out at us. We want to get faster as a football team and we think he's a guy that has some tools. He's played in this league and we think can do some good things for us."
Burress, 35, caught 45 balls for 612 yards and eight touchdowns last season as he returned to the league after missing two seasons while in prison. He proved to be a good red-zone target, but Burress wasn't nearly the same player had been with the Giants before his incarceration.
The wide receiver didn't help his cause for a possible reunion by taking a shot at Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez during the offseason. When asked on ESPN's "First Take" if he believed Sanchez could lead the team to a Super bowl title, Burress said the defense could lead the team to a title.
Ryan was asked if anything from last season made the team shy to bring back Burress, but the coach instead praised the receiver.
"I have a great relationship with Plaxico. I think he's a tremendous person," Ryan said. "I just think in our situation we were looking to go a different way. When somebody brings in Plaxico Burress, they're going to get an excellent football player and a guy I have a lot of respect for. I just think in our situation we always do what we feel is in the best interest of our football team and for us it was to sign Hill."
The Jets will now hope for production from Hill, 27, who has 76 career catches for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns. Those career numbers nearly match those Burress posted in his best single seasons during his career.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. --The Jets decided to sign Jason Hill instead of bringing back veteran Plaxico Burress because the team opted for youth and speed, head coach Rex Ryan said.