New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller told reporters Friday that he fully expects to play in the team’s opener Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
Though Keller, who hurt his right hamstring during a preseason game in August, spent limited time practicing with the team, reporters say he worked on the side line running at full speed to test the strength of his injury.
Keller later revealed he felt no soreness in his hamstring after practice.
“I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t go,” the 27-year-old athlete said of facing the Bills. “As long as we don’t have any setbacks. I’m pretty sure I’m ready to go.”
Despite Keller’s optimism regarding his condition, Jets coach Rex Ryan was still unsure whether his star would be ready by game time.
“With that hamstring you want to get him as close to 100 percent as you can before this game,” Ryan said. “We’ll see. I’m still hopeful he’ll play against Buffalo but we’ll see.”
In 2011 Keller caught 65 passes for 815 yards and five touchdowns and was the top-targeted among all Jets pass-catchers.
Over the course of his five-year NFL career, the former Purdue Boilermaker has 213 total catches for 2,559 yards and 15 TDs.
In other Jets news, coach Ryan ruled safety Eric Smith (hip, knee) out, while defensive linemen Sione Pouha (back) and Mike DeVito (calf) were limited but expected to play.
LaRon Landry (heel) didn’t practice, but the team says it was planned as part of keeping the safety fresh.
Meanwhile, other key players for the team, including wide receivers Santonio Holmes (ribs) and Chaz Schilens (ankle), and defensive backs Ellis Lankster (quad) and Laron Landry (heel), all had full participation in practice.