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Jets Give Testaverde $19M Deal


Vinny Testaverde, who led the New York Jets within a victory of the Super Bowl, signed a three-year contract worth $19.4 million Monday to remain with his hometown team.

Testaverde, who signed as a free agent before the season, was 13-2 as a starter after taking over for Glenn Foley. The 35-year-old quarterback led the AFC in passing and directed the Jets to their first division title since the team joined the NFL in 1970.

The 1986 Heisman Trophy winner, who grew up in Elmont, N.Y., will receive a $6.2 million signing bonus. The deal includes a four-year option and incentives could be worth as much as $2.5 million a year.

"We're pleased to be able to get this contract done," Jets coach Bill Parcells said. "We look forward to working with Vinny again and hopefully seeing him and the team both improve their performance."

The announcement of the deal was put off for several weeks after the death of Testaverde's father, Al, who died of a heart attack on Feb. 14.

Testaverde, a 12-year veteran, completed 259 of 421 passes for 3,256 yards and a team record 29 touchdowns in '98. The Jets won the AFC East, beat Jacksonville 34-24 for their first postseason win since 1986, and then lost the AFC title game to Denver 23-10.

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