Defensive end John Abraham, who has missed all of the New York Jets' offseason workouts and all of training camp, on Monday signed the one-year qualifying offer as a "franchise" player and reported to work.
In the wake of reports that he was about to end his absence, Abraham arrived at the team's Hempstead, N.Y., complex with his representative and signed a deal that will pay him $6.67 million for the 2005 season. Abraham has been seeking a long-term offer but, given his history of injuries, Jets officials have balked at a multi-year deal.
"We are pleased John has signed and he can begin the process of getting ready to play this season. We've said from the beginning, we knew John would be here," said general manager Terry Bradway. "He's an important part of our defense and our football team."
Abraham, 27, is expected to begin practicing on Tuesday but almost certainly will not play in the team's preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday night. Instead, the team will try to get the sixth-year veteran ready for the season opener.
"It was a difficult process to go through, but I'm happy to be here and ready to join my teammates," Abraham said. "There's a lot of work ahead, but I'm ready to face the challenges and look forward to a successful season."
Coach Herm Edwards suggested last week that, even if Abraham didn't report until the week before the opener at Kansas City on Sept. 11, he might play in the game.
One of the Jets' four choices in the first round of the 2000 draft, Abraham has been the club's most consistent sack threat most of his career. In 57 games, he has 221 tackles and 43 sacks, and registered double-digit sacks in both 2001 and 2002.
The former South Carolina star has been hindered by injuries, though, the past two years, and has appeared in only 19 games in that stretch.
"I'm in shape, I've been working since the season was over
with," Abraham told The Associated Press. "Obviously I had an injury last year, I had
to rehab my knee and work on my body. It's been a long offseason,
but it's been a very positive offseason. Hopefully I can stay
healthy for 16 games. That's my only problem in the NFL so far.
When I'm on the field, I've been a force."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.