It’s an Audition for Jets’ Esiason : NFL: With an eye on his future, veteran quarterback regains his starting spot for the rest of the season.
Boomer Esiason, who appeared destined to spend the rest of the season on the bench, was given a reprieve Monday. With Glenn Foley out for the season, and with Bubby Brister out of favor, Esiason was named to start the New York Jets’ next game, Nov. 19 against the Buffalo Bills.
“It’s kind of a black irony when you think about it,” Esiason said.
Esiason’s last game was against the Bills Oct. 8. That day, Esiason suffered a concussion on a vicious hit by Bruce Smith. The injury was so severe that it caused Esiason to miss the next four games.
“There’s no trepidation on my part,” said Esiason, who has been insisting for a week that he’s fully recovered. “The best thing about the hit I took from Bruce Smith was I don’t remember it.”
The 34-year-old Esiason, a free agent after the season, now has a six-game audition to enhance his market value. He would like to re-sign with the Jets, but that appears unlikely. Coach Rich Kotite hasn’t revealed his quarterback plans, but he probably will try to sign a starter from the free-agent market. Nevertheless, this still is a good opportunity for Esiason to help himself for the future.
“There’s a little bit of personal pride riding on it, there’s no question about it,” Esiason said. “I’d be taking those games very seriously, even if it weren’t for a personal audition. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody. I know what I can do. Now the question is, do you become the lightning rod again, or do you make the most of it?”
Brister, who was pulled in the second quarter of Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Patriots, will return to his backup role. Kotite said he wants to sign a veteran quarterback as his third-stringer.
Donald Hollas, most recently with the Detroit Lions, was scheduled to work out with the Jets Tuesday at Hofstra. Other possibilities: Erik Wilhelm, Jay Schroeder and Shane Matthews.