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Morris Claiborne to return Sunday for Jets

Morris Claiborne  says he took himself out of

Morris Claiborne  says he took himself out of the Tampa Bay game with a foot injury because he believed he was "hurting the team." Photo Credit: James Escher

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets will have starting cornerback Morris Claiborne back for Sunday’s game against the Panthers.

Claiborne missed the Nov. 2 game against the Bills with a sore foot, then reinjured the foot while chasing the Buccaneers’ DeSean Jackson in the first half on Nov. 12. Claiborne lasted only 16 defensive snaps before asking to come out because he couldn’t plant off his foot. But after a full week of practice, he is ready to go.

“I feel a lot better,” Claiborne said after Friday’s practice. “I felt good at that time [against the Bucs] but I felt like I couldn’t perform at a high level. I felt like if I was out there, I’m going to give it everything I got. I don’t want to be the cause for any big plays or anything like that happening. I felt like me being out there at that time was me hurting the team.”

Jackson got ahead of Claiborne on a crossing route and made the first down. Claiborne limped off the field and didn’t return.

“I couldn’t really turn or plant off that foot and turn to go downhill,” he said. “It took me a while to turn and try to get to him and plant on one leg, and playing against DeSean Jackson, that ain’t going to match up well.”

The Jets missed Claiborne’s ability to take on the opposing team’s best receiver. Instead, the Jets relied on Buster Skrine and Darryl Roberts as the starters. It was met with mixed results, but with Claiborne returning, Skrine continues as the starter and Roberts moves to the No. 3 cornerback. In passing situations, Skrine is the slot corner and Roberts can play outside.

Claiborne’s return makes things simpler for a team trying to get healthy for the stretch run.

“Anything can happen,” Todd Bowles said. “But he’s a lot better from the week before.”

Notes & quotes: Bowles on the Chiefs’ signing of former Jet Darrelle Revis: “He’s a true pro. I have a lot of respect for Revis. They signed him. They saw a lot of things they liked. We have all the respect in the world for him. He’s a legend here.” . . . The Jets brought back WR/KR Lucky Whitehead, signing him to the practice squad . . . RB Matt Forte (knee), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (foot) and G Brian Winters (abdomen) were listed as questionable.

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