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Jets sign troubled ex-Lion Aaron Berry, waive Dedrick Epps

Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry (32) stretches during

Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry (32) stretches during NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich. (June 4, 2012) Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets signed former Lions cornerback Aaron Berry to a two-year deal Monday, according to his agent.

Berry will provide much-needed depth, and hopefully good cover skills, to a Jets secondary that lost its star cornerback, Darrelle Revis, to a torn ACL last week in Miami. Berry, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh (coincidentally, Revis' alma mater), was cut by the Lions this offseason after two arrests in the span of a month.

In June, he was arrested in Harrisburg, Pa., for suspicion of DUI and a few weeks later, he was accused of pointing a gun at three people. The NFL subsequently suspended him for three games for violating the league's conduct policy and he was reinstated last week.

To make room on the roster, the Jets waived injured Dedrick Epps. The backup tight end suffered a knee injury in Sunday's 34-0 loss after catching a 9-yard pass from Tim Tebow. The arrival of Berry, 24, also signaled the return of Joe McKnight to running back.

In light of the Revis injury, the third-year back was moved to cornerback last week and was used on a few blitz packages against the 49ers. But Rex Ryan told his coaching staff he wants to see the running back with more carries. McKnight told Newsday on Friday that he felt somewhat "in the dark" about his role on the team and considered his move to defensive back as a slight.

Ryan, who met with Berry last week, said he wasn't concerned about Berry's checkered past.

"Everybody has made mistakes," the coach said, adding that quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, a former member of Pitt's coaching staff, vouched for the cornerback. "We feel that Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here."

Ryan said he's not sure which cornerback position Berry will play, but noted the defensive back's biggest asset is his man-cover skills. Still, it might take a while for Berry to get acclimated to the new system.

"There's a difference between being in shape and being in football shape," Ryan said, referring to the cornerback's time under suspension.

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