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Friday, September 6, 2013
Practice report: Santonio Holmes returns

By Rich Cimini

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After sitting out Thursday, wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned to practice Friday and participated in positional drills, the walk-through and a red-zone drill, the latter on a limited basis. It all occurred during the 30-minute window open to the media.

Holmes, 11 months removed from foot surgery, is expected to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he likely will be on a play count. He missed the entire preseason, and the New York Jets don't want to over-work him, especially with a Thursday night game next week.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip) participated in practice and will play. The biggest question surrounds nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who missed the last three preseason games with a back injury. Ellis was limited in positional drills, and his status is up in the air. Even if he plays, he'll likely serve as a backup to Damon Harrison.

Injured quarterback Mark Sanchez made an appearance on the practice field. Wearing his red jersey No. 6, he stood with the offense and watched various drills. After the red-zone period, Sanchez fist-bumped Geno Smith, an indication that he's being supportive of the rookie starter. This will mark only the third game in Sanchez's career that he won't start. He missed a game in 2009 because of a knee injury, and he was benched for a game last season.