DENNIS WASZAK Jr.,AP Sports Writer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets are giving Aaron Berry a chance at reviving his NFL career.
Berry, who was arrested twice this summer and cut by the Detroit Lions, signed with the Jets on Monday.
With All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis likely out for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee, Berry gives the Jets much-needed depth to their secondary.
“We feel that Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here,” coach Rex Ryan said. “If we didn’t believe that, then we wouldn’t bring him here. As far as him as a player, I feel his has the physical skill set we look for in our corners, and the No. 1 skill set would be man cover skills. We feel he has those.”
To make room on the roster, the Jets waived-injured tight end Dedrick Epps, who hurt his right knee Sunday when he caught a 9-yard pass from Tim Tebow.
Berry was signed by Detroit as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh. He started three games last season for the Lions and one in 2010.
But the Lions terminated Berry’s contract in July after his second arrest of the summer in Pennsylvania. Berry, who is from Harrisburg, Pa., was arrested in that area June 23 on suspicion of DUI, failure to stop and render aid from an accident and other counts.
In July, Berry was taken into custody on three charges of simple assault, and Harrisburg Police said there “was a weapon allegedly brandished during the incident.” Berry entered the NFL’s substance abuse program after the second arrest, and said in a statement at the time that he was “embarrassed” by his actions. He was suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“I know it sounds crazy to some people, but I know I will continue to get better and grow from this unfortunate experience, I have no choice but to get better,” Berry said in July. “There are always two sides to every story and the legal process will be where I will tell my side regarding this recent incident.”
The Jets met with Berry last week, working him out while looking to compensate for the loss of Revis.
“Everybody has made mistakes in their lives, there’s no question,” Ryan said. “I’ve always talked about and I’ve made more than my share. We go back and do background checks. (Quarterbacks coach) Matt Cavanaugh was on the staff at Pittsburgh when he was there and he feels good about Aaron.”
Ryan said bringing in Berry will allow the Jets to move Joe McKnight back to running back full-time after he practiced at cornerback last week. McKnight played two snaps on defense in New York’s 34-0 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
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