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Hurricane winds followed by hot air

Gums - not trees - could be flapping as the Jets and Keyshawn prepare for battle.

By RICK STROUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 18, 2000


PONTIAC, Mich. -- In April, the Jets traded Keyshawn Johnson.

Sunday, at least one ex-teammate was ready to exchange insults with the Pro Bowl receiver.

After eclipsing his season total with eight receptions for 84 yards in Sunday's 31-10 victory against the Lions, Johnson was tight-lipped about his upcoming revenge game with the undefeated Jets at Raymond James Stadium.

"You know, I haven't really even thought about it, to be honest with you," Johnson said mockingly.

But his former Jets teammates weren't holding their tongues.

"I couldn't care less. What I mean, Keyshawn, we're 3-0 and (your) not here," Jets center Kevin Mawae said. "So go tell that to him. It proves that one guy does not make a team."

Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who also will be involved in his own reunion with the Bucs, tossed several bouquets at Johnson, saying he missed his favorite target.

"I'd by lying if I said no," said Testaverde, who will be returning to Tampa for the first time since not being re-signed by the Bucs in 1993. He also reiterated how he disagreed with the trade of Johnson to the Bucs for two first-round picks.

"Any time you have a guy like Keyshawn with the ability he has and what he brings to your offense, you like to work with a guy like that," Testaverde said. "When you have him and you lose him, it's disappointing.

"I'm not worried about proving points to anybody who's not here. We can't be concerned with people who are not here."

However, Testaverde was concerned enough about not having Johnson that he wanted a tall receiver to replace him in the Hail Mary formation. With no receivers taller than 6 feet, Testaverde convinced the Jets to use 6-2 cornerback Marcus Coleman in Johnson's spot and it resulted in a 45-yard Hail Mary completion for a touchdown Sunday against Buffalo.

Although Johnson was mum Sunday, he has scheduled three news conferences beginning today to discuss the Jets.

"I'm going to say one thing," Johnson said. "I'm serious about this. I'm going to think about this Week 3 right now and be happy and think about the things I did good and bad in this game and concentrate next week on the Jets."

Johnson, however, did make a rather veiled reference to his former team.

"I'd like to think you can always replace guys statistically, but you can't replace that magic that he brings," Johnson said. "I think I bring a lot of magic, and I'm excited for this offense and this team."

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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