Jets LB/DE Jason Taylor was active during the portion of Friday’s practice open to the media. Taylor missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday due a concussion he suffered in the second half of the Jets’ 28-21 win over New England last Sunday.
WR/KR Brad Smith also was active on Friday during the open portion of practice. Smith, who suffered a groin injury in the first half of the Jets’ Wild Card win over the Colts, will return kicks on Sunday against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game, according to special teams coach Mike Westhoff.
Taylor said on Thursday that he passed “a whole battery of tests” prior to returning to practice on Thursday. It's been mandatory for NFL players to pass baseline tests in order to return to the field after suffering concussions this season.
“I took a little hit in the second half, but I’m good,” Taylor said on Thursday. “I went through the whole battery of tests, which was very extensive and they held me out (Wednesday) when I felt fine and then (Thursday) I got a chance to go practice. So everything's good.”
As for Smith, Westhoff said on Thursday that, barring any setbacks, he would reclaim his kick-returning duties against the Steelers.
Antonio Cromartie returned kicks in Smith’s absence.
Cromartie had a pivotal 47-yard return that gave the Jets great field position in their final drive against the Colts, which resulted in Nick Folk’s game-winning 32-yard field goal. Cromartie averaged 31.8 yards on six kickoff returns in place of Smith.
Smith, who practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday, returned the opening kickoff of the Jets' 22-17 road win over the Steelers on Dec. 19 for a 97-yard touchdown. In the regular season, Smith was the second-leading kickoff returner in the NFL with a 28.6-yard average and two touchdowns.
Smith and the rest of the Jets worked inside on Friday due to the snowstorm that dumped several inches of snow on their outdoor practice field at Florham Park, N.J. They also piped in crowd noise and played loud music to mimic the atmosphere at Heinz Field.
Also, Mark Sanchez was active on Friday and practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday. His right shoulder injury seems to be a non-issue at this point. We’ll have more information on the injury when Sanchez addresses the media later on Friday.
James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle), Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and Drew Coleman (knee), all limited on Thursday, were active during the open portion of Friday’s practice.