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Jets trying to decide on kick and punt returners

Jets rookie Elijah McGuire runs the ball during a

Jets rookie Elijah McGuire runs the ball during a game against the Bills at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Todd Bowles calls it gymnastics, meaning the Jets have some issues to work through with personnel.

This time it’s deciding on the kick and punt returners for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

With wide receiver/punt returner Jeremy Kerley suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing policy, the Jets are looking at rookie Elijah McGuire as the punt returner, but they also could pick someone else.

“Losing him certainly hurts,” special teams coach Brant Boyer said of Kerley. “We got a bunch of guys working back there, so we’ll see what happens this week.”

McGuire is the only player on the active roster with a punt return and that occurred last week when he returned the first of his career for 10 yards against the Bills.

The Jets also are discussing choosing between ArDarius Stewart and McGuire for kick returner. Each has returned kicks this season, but Boyer prefers one man do the job. Stewart is averaging 19.2 yards per return and McGuire has a 22.3 average.

The Jets have three wide receivers on the practice squad who might return kicks or punts. If one is promoted, the Jets would have to make a roster move to clear space.

Boyer said experience as a return man isn’t a requirement.

Shell set to return

Starting right tackle Brandon Shell has practiced fully this week as he recovers from a neck injury. Brent Qvale replaced him the last two games.

“You just got to wait,” Shell said of his health. “Work hard in the film room as if I’m playing. Still studying the game and can’t let my [good] habits go.”

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RB Matt Forte (knee), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (toe and shoulder), DL Ed Stinson (neck) and C Jonotthan Harrison (hand) did not practice. CB Morris Claiborne (foot) and RG Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited.

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