- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Braylon Edwards always wanted to return to the New York Jets, but figured he sabotaged his chances last week with his now-infamous tweet -- the one in which he called the front office "idiots" for the way it has treated quarterback Mark Sanchez.
"After the tweet, it was like, 'Yeah, I burned that bridge,' " Edwards said Thursday.
If there were any hard feelings, the Jets put them aside.
Desperate for wide receiver help, the Jets acquired Edwards on waivers Tuesday and cleared him for practice despite a lingering hamstring injury. His previous team, the Seattle Seahawks, said the injury would sideline him for the remainder of the season. The Jets are planning to play him Monday night against the Tennessee Titans in a must-win game.
Never say "never" in the NFL.
Rex Ryan, who gained an affinity for Edwards while coaching him in 2009 and '10, tried to make light of the "idiots" remark.
"There are things, privately, where I've been called a lot worse from players," Ryan said, laughing.
Clearly, Edwards wasn't referring to Ryan in his late-night tweet. It was directed at general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who wasn't made available by the team to comment on the acquisition of Edwards.
Edwards said he bumped into Tannenbaum on Wednesday in the team cafeteria.
"There wasn't a moment of awkwardness," Edwards said. "He was just as happy as me, or so it seemed."
Leave it to the Jets to create intrigue out of seemingly routine matters, which also could apply to the Tim Tebow situation.
On Thursday, Ryan revealed that Tebow, recovering from two fractured ribs, again won't be involved in the Wildcat or as a personal protector on the punt team.
Tebow, who hasn't played in the past three games, will remain the No. 2 quarterback, according to Ryan. Greg McElroy, who came off the bench two weeks ago to rally the Jets to a win, will stay the No. 3.
It's a curious decision by Ryan, who would rather have a banged-up Tebow as his backup than a healthy McElroy. It also has fueled speculation that the Jets are using Tebow's rib injury as an excuse to scrap the ineffective Wildcat package.
"He can be a backup quarterback and run some base plays," said Ryan, adding that Tebow is a better No. 2 option than McElroy.
Except for the offensive line, every position on offense has been hit by injuries. Backup running back Bilal Powell, whose role has increased in recent weeks, didn't practice with a fractured toe and a sore shoulder, but he's expected to play.
Remember, the Jets lost wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a season-ending foot injury in Week 4.
Enter Edwards, who developed nice chemistry with Sanchez during their two seasons together. Sanchez almost lost his starting job last week, prompting a scathing tweet from the receiver: "Don't blame Sanchez. I played there. Blame the idiots calling shots."
Edwards tweeted an apology and was waived/injured by the Seahawks. He reverted to their injured-reserve list when no one claimed him the first time.
Why rip his former team? Edwards said it "kind of hurt a little bit" when the Jets showed no interest in re-signing him last offseason. They also spurned him the previous year, opting not to re-sign him when he became a free agent for the first time. He said he "left a small part of myself" in New York.
"I always wanted to come back, but after this offseason, not really getting a phone call, I kind of thought that was it," Edwards said. "I moved on mentally."
Edwards said his insulting tweet was "made in the heat of the moment. You know how that goes. We've moved past that and I'm here and I'm ready."
He never thought the Jets would be interested, but they're down to three healthy receivers. Edwards' health, too, is a matter of dispute. On Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said they released Edwards from IR because they felt he wouldn't be back by the end of the season.
"I don't think Pete has an MD," Edwards said jokingly. "That was what they thought. That was his opinion and everybody is entitled to theirs. The Jets have a different opinion."
Ryan said he's "optimistic" Edwards will play. Edwards was limited in practice, taking only a couple of reps with the starters, but they expect him to be ready despite having no familiarity in coordinator Tony Sparano's offense.
Sanchez is happy. He threw 10 touchdowns to Edwards in 2009 and '10, more than the combined total he has with the current receivers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"I think he's still got it," Sanchez said.
Edwards, 29, has caught only 23 passes since leaving the Jets, so there are questions about his ability to produce. A lot of time has elapsed since he helped them to back-to-back AFC Championship Games. Asked if he can turn back the clock, Edwards laughed.
"Turn back the clock? Come on, I'm 29," he said, adding, "I'm ready. You'll get a chance to see when I get out there."
2dEric D. Williams