Jets' Weatherford hopes to punt vs. Bengals despite bad hamstring

NEW YORK -- Jets punter Steve Weatherford said his tweaked right hamstring was "feeling better" Saturday, but he still had some tightness one day before the team's must-win game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Weatherford injured the hamstring during practice Friday, and coach Rex Ryan said the Jets would work out punters Saturday as a contingency plan. The team brought in A.J. Trapasso and Glenn Pakulak, but signed neither -- an indication that Weatherford might be fine for the game, which the Jets (8-7) need to win to make the playoffs.

"I'm feeling better, still some tightness," Weatherford told The Associated Press. "John Mellody and the training staff have done a great job helping me get ready."

The game originally was scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, but it was switched to 8:20 p.m. as part of the NFL's flexible scheduling option.

"We were blessed to have a late game, giving me more time to get healthy," Weatherford said.

The Jets likely will need a healthy Weatherford to establish field position in a game in which both teams are expected to rely heavily on their running games.

If Weatherford plays but aggravates the injury during the game, kicker Jay Feely would take over the punting duties. Weatherford was signed as a free agent after training camp and is averaging 41.9 gross yards and 37.1 net.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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