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T.J. Conley replaced as Jets punter by Robert Malone

T.J. Conley warms up before a game against

T.J. Conley warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Dec. 18, 2011) Credit: AP

Less than a week after saying he wasn't worried about outside competition, the Jets punted on T.J. Conley.

The team's roster shuffle continued yesterday with the release of Conley five days before their regular-season opener against Buffalo. "Got cut by the Jets today," Conley wrote on Twitter. "Pretty bummed but God has a plan for me . . . "

The Jets signed former San Diego Charger Robert Malone as his replacement, according to a source.

The 6-2, 215-pound Malone was ranked No. 26 during the preseason with a 44.8-yard average (39.9 net) on 20 punts for the Chargers. Three of those were inside the 20. In 2011, he had just five punts for the Detroit Lions, averaging 49 yards, with a long of 62 yards.

The Jets will be the fifth team for Malone since 2010. He was undrafted out of Fresno State.

Conley, the only punter on the Jets' roster heading into Week 1, seemed to be assured the starting gig before he shanked back-to-back punts against the Giants in the second preseason game at MetLife Stadium. That left the door open for Spencer Lanning, whom the Jets claimed off waivers two days before the preseason finale against the Eagles.

"I know T.J. has enough ability to be a good punter in this league," coach Rex Ryan said Aug. 20, eight days before the team acquired Lanning. "He's just got to get back to being consistent.

"Last year, I thought he had a decent year. He's worked hard. There's times when he looks like [three-time Raiders Super Bowl champion] Ray Guy out there. We just have to see it consistently."

Conley responded against the Panthers on Aug. 30 and finished the preseason ranked No. 30 in NFL preseason average. He punted 17 times, averaging 44 yards (37.9 net).

Lanning was cut Friday when the Jets completed their 53-man roster.

Conley, who turned 27 last Wednesday, beat out Travis Baltz earlier in training camp and he didn't seem fazed by the arrival of Lanning.

A confident Conley said last week, "I'm going to compete against him and I'm going to beat him out."

Dixon returns. Three days after the Jets cut veteran defensive lineman Marcus Dixon, his agent announced his return on Twitter.

Dixon was cut Saturday as GM Mike Tannenbaum made his "mini-draft" moves, claiming nose tackle Isaako Aaitui, wide receiver Clyde Gates and tight end Konrad Reuland.

Ryan, however, hinted Dixon might be back. "I knew we were going to end up cutting some good football players," the coach said. "Clearly Marcus Dixon's a good football player. And we'll see what the future holds. Maybe he will be back."

Notes & quotes: According to various outlets, the Jets worked out former Giants WR Derek Hagan (who also played for Miami and Buffalo), LB D.J. Bryant, long snapper Charley Hughlett and P Shawn Powell.

New York Sports