FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - David Harris tried his best not to add fuel to the fire, but even the Jets' mild-mannered linebacker couldn't resist taking a return shot at Bengals running back Cedric Benson.
"I'm only the leading tackler on the leading defense. It's hard to not know who I am," Harris said Thursday with a smile during his first interview since suffering a right ankle sprain against the Bengals on Sunday night.
"If I play, I'll introduce myself to him early."
Benson told the Cincinnati media earlier this week that he didn't know who Harris was. The linebacker just happens to lead the Jets with 127 combined tackles and has 51/2 sacks heading into tomorrow's AFC wild-card game against the Bengals.
Fellow linebacker Bart Scott tried to shy away from making a comment about Benson's remarks, but he also couldn't resist.
"Every week when you go in, you put a big ol' [list] up and it has everybody's personnel on it. It has everybody's name on it . . . Maybe he can't read," Scott joked.
After missing two consecutive practices, Harris was in his usual inside linebacker spot Thursday and didn't appear hampered by the ankle, which he said "felt a little stiff. I've been up here all day getting treatment and doing rehab and everything.
"It's real frustrating. To get hurt the last game of the regular season, the biggest game of my season so far, it's just been tough on me this week. But I'm doing everything I can to get back out there with my teammates."
Said coach Rex Ryan: "David wasn't full go by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's an encouraging sign, the fact that he was able to get out there and do something. We'll see how it goes."
Harris said the injury occurred during cornerback Dwight Lowery's second-quarter interception. Harris said as he was being blocked by one Bengal, another Bengal "came in and chopped me real low."
Harris believes the hit was illegal.
"We sent it in [for review]," he said. "It puts you in an awkward and dangerous position when you get high-lowed like that. I don't think it was a fair shot."
Ryan, however, didn't see it that way.
"It was a chop block, but I don't believe it was intended," he said. "It's just one of those things that unfortunately happened."
The one bright spot in all this, Harris said, is that the Jets will face the same opponent tomorrow.
"It helps a little bit," he said. "You're familiar with the things they do, running, scheme-wise, and their plays. I guess that's the one positive of playing them last week and not being able to practice this week."