FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The New York Jets are looking for a healthy safety.
Down to two players at the position because of injuries, coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday that the Jets (9-3) will have to cut the recently re-signed Laveranues Coles to make roster room.
James Ihedigbo was scheduled to have an MRI exam on his right knee — Ryan said it could be an injury to the medial collateral ligament, and a high ankle sprain. Ihedigbo, a backup on defense who is a prominent player on special teams, was injured in the third quarter of New York's 45-3 loss at New England on Monday night.
"The fact that he didn't finish the game generally is a concern," Ryan said. "Obviously, you don't feel real good about it, but I don't know the extent right now."
With New York preparing for its next game against Miami (6-6) on Sunday, Brodney Pool and Eric Smith are the only healthy safeties listed on the active roster, although cornerback Dwight Lowery can also play the position. Starter Jim Leonhard is out for the season after he broke his right shin in practice last Friday.
"There's a guy I think we'll target," Ryan said. "We'll see what happens there. It's tough now because if you have to play them, they better be familiar with what you're doing."
Among those on the Jets' short list could be players who were with the team in training camp, including free agent Donovan Warren and Emanuel Cook, who is with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League. Keith Fitzhugh, who was with the team in camp the past two offseasons, turned down the Jets' offer Tuesday. He chose to stay in his job as a train conductor so he can maintain his financial security rather than risk being cut in a few weeks while he helps support his parents.
"I appreciate them just giving me the opportunity to be part of their roster and their team," Fitzhugh said. "I have chemistry with them, but it's hard just being unemployed."
Coles, inactive Monday night, was signed Sunday to his fourth stint with the team as a motivational spark for the team before its biggest game this season after Leonhard was sidelined.
"We lost a Jet and I wanted to bring a Jet in at that time," Ryan said. "I would've liked to have had L.C. here, but now we're going to have to let him go because of the fact our safety situation is the way it is."
One of the franchise's most popular players, it's possible Coles could retire after catching 674 passes for 8,609 yards and 49 touchdowns in 10 seasons.