Jets optimistic TE Chris Herndon will debut Sunday

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The struggling New York Jets hope to get a boost Sunday with the long-anticipated return of tight end Chris Herndon.

Herndon, who missed four games due to a league suspension and another four games with a pulled hamstring, is expected to make his 2019 debut against the New York Giants.

“It looks good,” coach Adam Gase said Friday.

Gase also said he’s optimistic that running back Le’Veon Bell will play. Bell sat out practice Wednesday — he twisted his right knee and ankle last Sunday – but he practiced the past two days.

Herndon’s return should help quarterback Sam Darnold, who has been slumping. As a rookie, Herndon finished with 39 receptions, 502 yards and four touchdowns. In the offseason, Gase referred to Herndon as a “unicorn-type player.”

The Jets offense, which has only eight touchdowns, would get a boost from Chris Herndon. Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

A drunken-driving arrest in June 2018 resulted in a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. A few days before the suspension was lifted, Herndon pulled a hamstring while running routes on his own.

“I’ve been itching to get back out there,” said Herndon, adding that he has felt “great” in practice. “At the end of the day, this is the sport I love, that I’ve loved for years. Not being able to be out there has been crushing to me.”

The Jets (1-7), losers of three straight, could use the help. They’re ranked 31st in scoring and 32nd in total yards. The offense has generated only eight touchdowns.

Ryan Griffin has done a solid job at tight end. He leads the team with three touchdowns and has 19 catches for 162 yards.

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