Bears running back Tarik Cohen runs against the Giants during...

Bears running back Tarik Cohen runs against the Giants during the first half of an NFL game in Chicago on Nov. 24, 2019.  Credit: AP/Paul Sancya

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Jets signed running back Tarik Cohen and, during his first practice, he showed some of the speed and burst he was known for while with the Bears.

Cohen, however, hasn’t played in the NFL since 2020. He’s missed the last three seasons with various injuries, including a torn ACL and torn Achilles tendon.

“Explosive playmaker,” Robert Saleh said. “He’s starting to get back healthy.”

The Jets took a flier on Cohen because he could be valuable in the return game. The NFL changed the kickoff return rules this year and will feature two returners back to receive. Cohen was First-Team All-Pro in 2018 as a kick and punt returner and made the Pro Bowl.

The 5-foot-6 Cohen totaled 1,602 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns in 2018.

“These kick returners, they’re going to touch the ball over a hundred times a year, which is significant,” Saleh said. “At least that’s what we’re anticipating. A guy like him, still young, [he’s] coming off his injuries, but we’re excited to have him.”

Cohen rushed for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns and caught 209 passes for 1,575 yards and nine scores in 51 games with the Bears.

The Jets waived running back Markese Stepp to make room for Cohen.

Improved offense

Saleh talked about being more involved in the offensive meetings and said he’s “just trying to provide some insight from a defensive perspective.” As far as the offense itself, Saleh said, “we all believe that if we can stay healthy, we’ll be pretty damn good.”

You again

Center Joe Tippmann was “pumped” when the Jets drafted his old Wisconsin teammate, running back Braelon Allen, in the fourth round.

“He’s a guy you love to have in the backfield when you’re blocking for him,” Tippmann said. “He’s going to lower his shoulder and do whatever he can for that extra yard.”

Wait, what?

Quinnen Williams seemed stunned to learn that Aaron Rodgers is entering his 20th NFL season.

“Man, isn’t our running back, No. 0, 20 years old?” Williams said, referring to Allen. “So he’s been in the NFL as long as he’s been alive. That’s crazy. I have to joke with him about that.”

Joint practices

The Jets will hold joint practices with all three preseason opponents. They’ll host them against the Commanders and Giants and will practice at Carolina prior to their game with the Panthers.

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