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Chris Herndon steps away from team to begin suspension

Jets tight end Chris Herndon speaks with the

Jets tight end Chris Herndon speaks with the media after practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Jets will return to practice Monday without a very important member of their offense.

Tight end Chris Herndon officially has started serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He is eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, Oct. 7, after their game Sunday at Philadelphia.

“It’s going to be tough just because I know how much fun the offense is going to be, how much fun the team is going to be having out there on the field,” Herndon said. “I’m just going to do my best to prepare the best I can when I’m out that way [so] when I’m back, I’m ready to go, because it’s going to count.”

The Jets, who open the regular season at home Sunday against Buffalo, prepared for the loss of Herndon by signing Ryan Griffin right before training camp. He caught 136 passes for 1,491 yards and seven touchdowns in six seasons with the Texans. The Jets also signed Daniel Brown and drafted Trevon Wesco, who can play tight end and H-back.

“With Chris out the first four weeks, we’re going to miss him for sure,” Griffin said. “We’re going to do whatever we can. But it’s really a unit’s responsibility to fill in what we’re missing with Chris. But I’m going to do the best I can. Whatever Coach [Adam] Gase needs from me, I’m going to fill it the best I can.”

Jets outside linebacker Brandon Copeland also began serving his four-game suspension for testing positive for a PED.

Herndon’s suspension stemmed from his arrest after a two-car crash in June 2018. He pleaded guilty to DWI.

Herndon is allowed to use the Jets’ facility to train and can sit in on meetings, but he can’t practice with the team or be in the building when they play.

Said Herndon, “I’m going to train as much as I can, study, watch film, watch film of our opponents, even some of last year’s film to see if I can find other things I can get better at and try to tune up on while I’m out.

“Really just going over the offense every day I can. Just treating every week as if I’m playing, as far as mentally, and working on my conditioning.”

Herndon is coming off an impressive first season in which he and Sam Darnold showed good chemistry. Herndon caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns, leading all rookie tight ends. His four touchdowns tied him for ninth among all tight ends.

Adam Gase didn’t play Herndon in the fourth and final preseason game, but he got plenty of reps with the first team in practice and the first three preseason games.

“It’s going to help me tremendously because I was able to run the offense and see it against many different looks from our team and then the games in preseason and also going back and having time to study and correct things,” Herndon said. “I’m going to stay locked in, just continue to work and continue to study.”

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