- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Dustin Keller was at Jets practice today, but worked off to the side and away from individual groups yet again. He hasn’t practiced for three weeks with a “high-grade” ankle sprain, as Keller described it. Keller has likely played his last game of the season, and perhaps his last game as a Jet.
New York Jets
According to multiple reports, the tight end does not want a franchise tag at the end of this season.
On Thursday, Keller said he wanted to play in Buffalo if only because he didn’t want to go out on an injury given the uncertainty of next season.
“There’s not telling what next year is going to be,” Keller said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be here or somewhere else, so with that said I definitely would like to be able to play in this last game if it’s my last game as a Jet or if it’s just the last game until next year’s first game as a Jet. I’d like to play either way.”
Keller had been hoping the Jets would rework his contract in the offseason, given his steady improvement since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft. That didn’t happen, but Keller didn’t hold out. A quad injury early this season and the later ankle sprain have meant that Keller has played in just eight games this season. In four of those games he had two or fewer receptions.
“I looked at it like I’m not getting a new deal this year so that’s that. Just go out and play. That’s where I’m at right now. The unfortunate thing is I haven’t been able to play because of these injuries, so there’s not much I can do about that except just be in the training room every day. And rehab. And try to get back.”
His relationship with the Jets front office is strained, but that could change if new personnel is brought in. Keller has been one of the few consistent receivers for Mark Sanchez, and the two have definite chemistry. Sanchez is due $8.2 million in guaranteed money by the Jets' next season. Keller would be a good player to keep in the fold if Sanchez returns.
McELROY MISSING: Greg McElroy, the Jets quarterback slated to start the Bills game, did not attend practice a day after revealing concussion symptoms to trainers and coaches. Mark Sanchez will start in his place, and Tim Tebow would presumably be the backup, although that’s a role he has never actually played.
TO THE SIDE: WR Chaz Schilens (knee) and LB Bryan Thomas (chest) worked off the the side during practice. Schilens may not play Sunday, but Thomas has played despite injury and a lack of practice during the week.