NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets signed former Lions linebacker Brandon Copeland and re-signed defensive lineman Xavier Cooper on Monday.
Copeland missed last season after tearing a pectoral muscle during the preseason. He had 30 tackles and one forced fumble in 32 games the previous two seasons with the Lions.
The 26-year-old Copeland is expected to serve as a backup on defense and be a key part of the Jets’ special teams unit.
“Too many different levels of excitement to put into words,” Copeland told the Jets’ website. “Coming off of injured reserve, having to sit every Sunday, Monday and Thursday and watching other people play, I’m first and foremost excited to get back to the game that I love.”
He signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Penn in 2013 and spent time later that season on Tennessee’s practice squad. After signing with Orlando of the Arena Football League in 2015, Copeland impressed Detroit after participating in the NFL Veterans Combine. His grandfather, Roy Hilton, played for the Baltimore Colts against the Jets in the Super Bowl in 1969.
“He played defensive end against Joe Namath and all those guys,” Copeland said. “I know he’s going to be very proud of his grandson and now my job is to continue to make him proud.”
Cooper was not tendered as a restricted free agent, but was brought back to serve as a rotational defensive lineman. He had 16 tackles and one sack in eight games, and his play increased when Muhammad Wilkerson was benched at the end of last season.
Cooper was a third-round pick by Cleveland out of Washington State in 2015. He has also spent time with San Francisco, and has 56 career tackles and three sacks.
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