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Jets sign QB Graham Harrell

With Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy nursing shoulder and leg injuries, respectively, the quarterback-needy New York Jets signed former Green Bay Packers backup Graham Harrell, the team announced Wednesday.

Harrell will be available to play Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles in the teams' preseason finale.

The Jets have five quarterbacks on the roster, but only two of the original four are healthy -- rookie Geno Smith and Matt Simms, who's expected to start the finale. The current plan is to not play Smith, who could end up starting the season opener Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sanchez, who suffered a bruised joint in his throwing shoulder last Saturday against the New York Giants, has been ruled out for Thursday night. He's the presumptive Week 1 starter, but his status for the game is in doubt, according to sources.

McElroy, the No. 3 quarterback last season, has missed the last two preseason games with knee and ankle injuries. On Tuesday, coach Rex Ryan was non-committal on whether McElroy would be available for the game.

Harrell, who served as Aaron Rodgers' backup for three seasons, was released last Saturday after losing the No. 2 job to Vince Young.

Harrell has appeared in only four games -- all last season -- and has attempted only four passes, completing two. His background in the West Coast offense should help his transition.

The deal was earlier reported by FoxSports.com.

To make room for Harrell, the Jets released rookie center Dalton Freeman.