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Two-time All-Pro returner to try out with NY Jets at minicamp

Jakeem Grant, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets continue adding competition for the returner roles

With the NFL’s new kickoff rules, teams are expecting to see a massive jump in returns this year, and the New York Jets are planning accordingly.

The Jets have been busy adding competitors to the roster for their kick return jobs. After signing former All-Pro kick returner Tarik Cohen to the roster, the Jets are bringing in another former All-Pro returner on a tryout basis: Jakeem Grant. A second-team All-Pro returner in both 2020 and 2021, Grant will attend this week’s Jets minicamp on a tryout basis.

Grant, 31, frequently faced the Jets for six seasons as a member of the Miami Dolphins, playing in 70 games for Miami from 2016-21. His last regular season appearance came in 2021 with the Chicago Bears.

Grant joined the Cleveland Browns in 2022, but his last two seasons have been mired by injuries. Grant missed the entire 2022 season due to an Achilles tear, and he missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in the preseason.

In his prime, Grant was one of the most electric returners in the NFL. Grant has four punt return touchdowns and two kickoff return touchdowns in his career. He owns career averages of 10.3 yards per punt return (119 returns) and 24.5 yards per kickoff return (110 returns).

Clearly, the Jets’ return roles are up for grabs. Undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson held down both the punt and kickoff return jobs in 2023, but his shaky performance (particularly with fumbles) has left the door open for competition going into 2024. Gipson remains in the mix, but he’ll face competition from the experienced Cohen and potentially Grant if he can impress the Jets enough to earn a roster spot. Other possible competitors include second-year running back Israel Abanikanda or rookies Malachi Corley and Isaiah Davis.

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