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  •   Jets' Testaverde Injured, Will Miss Season

    Jets  Logo By Jimmy Golen
    Associated Press
    Sunday, September 12, 1999; 3:48 p.m. EDT

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles' tendon on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season, a crushing blow for a team considered a strong contender for the Super Bowl.

    Testaverde crumpled to the turf untouched after making a quick cut to the ball when Curtis Martin fumbled in the second quarter of the season-opener against New England. He immediately grabbed his left leg and writhed in pain.

    The 35-year-old quarterback limped off the field, using one leg and two teammates for support before he stopped and had to be carried off.

    The team announced at the start of the second half that Testaverde will miss the rest of the season. Other Jets hurt were tight end Eric Green (neck), running back Leon Johnson (knee ligament) and Jason Ferguson (knee and ankle).

    In addition, wide receiver Wayne Chrebet broke his foot during the exhibition season and is expected to miss six weeks.

    On the first play after Testaverde's injury, punter Tom Tupa, who's listed as the Jets' fourth-string quarterback, threw a perfect 25-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Johnson to give New York a 14-10 lead.

    The Jets, who went 12-4 last season and lost to Denver in the AFC title game, now will have to drastically reshape their offense just one game into the season.

    Testaverde completed 10 of 15 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown for 32,575 yards and 205 touchdowns in a 13-year NFL career.

    In 1993, he missed four games with a separated shoulder. He also missed two games with a concussion in '94.

    Testaverde played five years with the Browns and Ravens before signing with the Jets as a free agent in 1998.

    In the offseason, the Jets traded backup Glenn Foley to Seattle for a draft pick, then signed Scott Zolak away from the Patriots. During training camp, the Jets signed Rick Mirer and cut Zolak after Mirer was cut by the Green Bay Packers.

    Tupa also played for coach Bill Parcells in New England. Although primarily a punter in the NFL, he played quarterback at Ohio State and has been used by Parcells in New York and New England as a backup quarterback to add flexibility to the roster.

    An Elmont, N.Y., native, Testaverde set University of Miami records for yards passing (6,058) and 48 touchdown passes while winning 21 of 22 games he started. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1986.

    Tampa Bay selected him first overall in the '86 draft, and though he posted 3,000-yard seasons in 1988 and '89 he was plagued by interceptions – throwing 35 and 22 in those two years.

    In 1993, his first season with the original Cleveland Browns and his seventh in the league, was also his first with more touchdowns (14) than interceptions (9).

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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