The New York Jets are showing interest in an old favorite, free-agent kickoff returner Leon Washington, a league source confirmed. Washington, released by the New England Patriots in the final cut-down, also has drawn interest from the Giants. He worked out for them Tuesday.
After cutting Joe McKnight, whom they drafted in 2010 to replace Washington, the Jets may be looking for a new kickoff returner. Right now, the job probably belongs to Clyde Gates. Washington, 31, made the Pro Bowl last season with a 29.0 average and one touchdown. He also could be a change-of-back back and a strong locker-room presence. The Jets have three backs on the roster, plus the suspended Mike Goodson.
General manager John Idzik was a Seahawks executive during Washington's three-year run in Seattle. The Jets could wait until after Week 1 to make a move on Washington. As a vested veteran, his salary wouldn't be guaranteed if he signs after the first game.
Washington was a popular and productive player with the Jets from 2006 to 2009, when he suffered a severe broken leg. Contract negotiations turned acrimonious and he was dealt to Seattle. TheJetsBlog.com first noted the interest in Washington.