The already strange season of Derrick Strait has taken another bizarre twist, with the New York Jets releasing the third-year defensive back, and replacing him on the roster with itinerant cornerback Hank Poteat, who had been with the team in training camp.
Only two weeks ago, Strait was in the starting lineup for the Jets, but he didn't even play in last Sunday's 41-0 loss at Jacksonville. On Monday, Poteat was in the unemployment line for the sixth time in his career, released by the New England Patriots, but he could be on the field Sunday in a reserve role, when the Jets host the Miami Dolphins.
In fact, in a strange twist, it will be the second week in a row in which Poteat has faced the Dolphins, if he suits up. He played in a backup capacity for the Patriots in their victory over Miami last week. If he sees action this week, Poteat will become one of just a handful of players in recent NFL history to face the same opponent two weeks in a row, because of a trade or free agent signing.
Then again, if that seems unusual, consider what has transpired with Strait this season.
In training camp, Strait, the Jets' third-round choice in the 2004 draft, was traded to Cleveland for tailback Lee Suggs. But the trade was nullified a day later when Suggs failed a Jets physical examination, and Strait returned to New York. After playing as a backup in the first two games of the season, he started at safety in the Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 contests. Then, against the Jaguars last Sunday, he didn't play at all.
And now, after a 41-0 thrashing in which he played no part, he has been released.
Strait was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. In his tenure with the Jets, he played in 26 games, primarily as a nickel back and on special teams, and had 65 tackles and one pass defensed.
The much-traveled Poteat, 29, has appeared in 54 games in stints with Pittsburgh (2000-2002), Tampa Bay (2003) and New England (2004-2006), and has 64 tackles, two passes defensed, one sack, one forced fumble and one recovery. The former University of Pittsburgh standout, who has been on and off the New England roster four times in the past three years, played two games for the Patriots this year, with one start.
Poteat was in camp with the Jets this summer, played in one preseason game, and was released. He is familiar with the defensive schemes of first-year head coach and former New England coordinator Eric Mangini, and won't need much time to assimilate.
"It was a situation where we thought we could improve the
team," coach Eric Mangini said. "And I've got familiarity with
Hank and he's got a lot of familiarity with the system."
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.