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Cromartie may still return kicks

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie runs with

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles middle linebacker Casey Matthews pursues in the first half Sunday. (December 18, 2011) Credit: AP Photo

Antonio Cromartie returning kickoffs in last Sunday’s 45-19 loss to the Eagles was no slight against Joe McKnight, Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff told reporters on Monday.

It’s all about practice time. McKnight (shoulder) didn’t practice with the special teams unit. But Cromartie did.

I just thought [Cromartie] was more prepared,” said Westhoff. “He had practiced, he had done everything 1,000 miles per hour. When you coming off of some of the injuries that Joe had, there’s a level of practice that he was not able to go at…And it still may that way. We’ll see.”

Westhoff didn’t rule out McKnight returning kicks again.

Said Westhoff: “I confidence in Joe, but at the same time when you’re fighting the injury things that he went through that’s a lot to ask that guy. Cromartie, he practices 600 miles an hour. Today he really worked at it. When we started he was the guy and Joe took over for him. I’m prepared to go either way.”

What about Kyle Wilson? Wilson was a highly regarded return man when the Jets drafted room. With Cromartie and McKnight assuming the role this season and barring another rinjury, its unlikely Wilson will return kicks anytime soon.

“It didn’t materialize exactly as we hoped it would his rookie year. It just didn’t. We gave him an opportunity and didn’t quite happen the way we hoped,” Westhoff said of Wilson. “And other people kind of moved in and moved ahead…There might come a time when he would be involved again.”

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