Jets keep kicker Feely after agreeing on one-year contract

NEW YORK -- The New York Jets agreed to terms with kicker Jay Feely on a one-year deal Wednesday, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press.

Feely, who became the Jets' kicker last season when Mike Nugent was injured in the season opener at Miami, returned to New York with a fully guaranteed contract, said the person who requested anonymity because the team hadn't announced the deal.

Feely, 32, went 24-of-28 on field-goal attempts, including 2-for-2 from 50 yards or longer, for New York last season, his eighth in the NFL. He has an 81.4 career field-goal percentage.

Feely and Nugent were both free agents, and the Jets offered Nugent a chance to re-sign with them before the signing period began last Friday. Instead, Nugent -- a former second-round draft pick -- chose free agency and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier Wednesday.

Feely was one of the top free-agent kickers available and attracted interest from at least four teams. He kicked a winning 34-yard field goal in overtime on Nov. 13 at New England to help New York take sole possession of first place in the AFC East. He was reliable down the stretch for the Jets, making his last 14 field-goal attempts.

Feely also has kicked for the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, for whom he went 21-for-23 on field-goal attempts and set a franchise record with a 91.3 field-goal percentage but was cut last August. He signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was cut one day later after losing a "kick-off" between him, Connor Barth and Nick Novak.

The Jets signed Feely after Nugent injured his right thigh during a kickoff against the Dolphins. Nugent came back and kicked an extra point, but New York replaced him with Feely the next week. After Nugent was healed midway through the season, former Jets head coach Eric Mangini kept Feely and had both of them compete in practice -- with Feely winning the chance to play each week.

By returning to the Jets, Feely will continue to work with special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, one of a few coaches from Mangini's staff retained by Rex Ryan.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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