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Nyp: Westhoff Misses Morton


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September 2, 2003 -- JET NOTES

Mike Westhoff, the Jets' special-teams coach, is licking his chops.

Westhoff, one of the most competitive types you'll meet in any sport, cannot wait to face Redskins kick returner Chad Morton, a player he essentially made as a Jet the last two seasons, when the Jets and Redskins play each other in the NFL season opener Thursday night.

Westhoff, a big Morton fan, misses his former kick returner, who was signed amid controversy as a restricted free agent this past offseason.

"Sure, I was angry to lose him," Westhoff said after practice yesterday. "How long did it take me to get over it? Until they bury me. I don't affix blame. I understand the system. That doesn't mean I have to like it."

Westhoff said he's spoken to Morton a couple times since NFL arbitrator Richard Bloch awarded Morton to the Redskins on a technicality the Jets failed to match on the offer sheet.

"I know for fact how much he appreciated the work we did together, because he's been very graphic in telling me so," Westhoff said.

Meanwhile, Westhoff revealed yesterday that he's not altogether happy with Morton's replacement, Albert Johnson, who averaged 21.3 yards on 12 returns this preseason.

"I see some things I'm very happy with from him and then I see some inconsistencies that I'm very disappointed with," Westhoff said. "I know he can do it. I'm hoping he steps up to bat and delivers."


Speaking of Morton, one of his beefs with the Jets was that they rarely used him as a running back out of the backfield. Supposedly one of the reasons he went to the Redskins was a promise that he'd get some offensive playing time.

Listening to Redskins coach Steve Spurrier yesterday hardly gave you the impression that he planned to utilize Morton on anything other than special teams.

"His role has not yet been completely determined," Spurrier said of Morton.

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