NEW YORK – Laveranues Coles is back with the Jets for the third time.
The veteran wide receiver signed a one-year contract Friday with the team he played with in two previous stints from 2000-02 and 2005-08.
The 32-year-old Coles, drafted by the Jets in 2000, spent last season with Cincinnati after leaving New York as a free agent. He struggled after signing a four-year, $28 million deal with the Bengals, catching 43 passes for 514 yards and five touchdowns.
Cincinnati released Coles in March, making him a free agent. He has a history of concussions and might have lost a step, but the Jets believe he can help quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense.
Coles has been a fan favorite and popular presence in the locker room in his previous stints with the Jets. He adds depth to a receiving group that already included Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith.
Coles worked out for the team Friday, and signed him later in the day. His presence clouds the futures of a few other receivers currently on the Jets' roster, including David Clowney and Aundrae Allison. However, Coles might just be back as early season insurance.
Holmes was suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Coles could help fill in while Holmes is out, but it's uncertain if he'll remain on the team once the former Super Bowl MVP with Pittsburgh returns.
Coles has 674 career catches for 8,609 yards and 49 touchdowns. He spent three seasons with New York after being a third-round pick out of Florida State before signing with Washington.
He was traded back to the Jets for Santana Moss after two seasons with the Redskins. Coles was heading into the final year of his contract last offseason, but was looking for a long-term deal. The sides compromised as the Jets allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent, letting New York off the hook for the guaranteed $6 million Coles was due last season.
Coles ranks fourth in team history — behind Don Maynard (627), Wayne Chrebet (580) and Al Toon (517) — with 459 catches. He's also 35th on the NFL's career list for receptions, two behind Reggie Wayne and 10 behind Chad Ochocinco.