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Jets hit trouble
QB Testaverde injured, game lost in final seconds
Posted: Sunday September 12, 1999 07:07 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles' tendon on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season, a crushing blow for a team that was considered a Super Bowl contender.
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.
"They ain't going to cancel the schedule," linebacker Bryan Cox said. "We lost one of our leaders. We lost a great player. But we're going to continue to play football the rest of the season."
Testaverde isn't the only player the Jets will have to do without.
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.
"I'll feel better in a month than I do right now, but we don't have time for that," Mirer said. "Hopefully, I can pick up right where Vinny left off and get this team where it deserves to be."
Testaverde completed 10 of 15 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown before he injured the tendon that connects the back of the heel to the calf muscles. 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 cut Zolak and signed Mirer, who had been cut by the Green Bay Packers.
Tupa also played for Jets 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 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 although he had 3,000-yard seasons in 1988 and '89, he was plagued by interceptions -- throwing 35 and 22 in those two years.
The 1993 season, his first with the original Cleveland Browns and his seventh in the league, was his first with more touchdowns (14) than interceptions (9).
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