FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -The New York Jets' most important handoff this season might have come on the sideline last Sunday.
Moments after Laveranues Coles hauled in his career-high third touchdown pass of the game, he jogged over to Brett Favre and handed him the football. Favre sought out the wide receiver after the big win over Arizona and asked him to sign it.
``It meant a lot to me to go back and give the football to a legend,'' the wide receiver said. ``I said, 'Thank you for everything you've done for me.'''
It took some time, but the relationship between Favre and Coles - previously perceived by some as nonexistent - has come a long way, and it's paying off on the field.
``Regardless of what people think or had thought, our relationship was fine,'' Favre said Tuesday. ``I mean, we don't go out and eat and play golf together or go hunt or anything like that, but I've got a lot of respect for him.''
in four games, including four to Coles.
``I've done nothing but try to get on the same page with Brett since he's been here, and I'm sure he'd say the same thing,'' Coles said. ``I'm excited about having the opportunity to play football with a legend. I say it all the time: There's nothing I could do to enhance his career, but there's a lot he can do to enhance mine with everything he brings to the table.
``Anytime you have somebody like a Brett Favre walk through the door, you have to be excited about it and look forward to the opportunities he is going to bring you.''
That didn't always seem to be the case with Favre and Coles, whose lockers are next to each other.
Coles, one of the most accommodating players last season, shut down completely when his buddy Chad Pennington was released to make room for Favre in early August. Coles was also nursing a leg injury in training camp, so he wasn't on the field much with Favre.
``After dealing with injuries and then the big circus with Brett coming into town, it's been tough,'' Coles said. ``I've taken it on the chin. I know there have been some things said about me, like not being happy about him coming here, but none of that is true. We've had great conversations from the time he walked through the door.''
wo games and said he and Favre lacked chemistry. Since Coles made that statement, he and Favre have looked as if they've been playing together for years.
``For Laveranues and I, we got a few days of work in training camp and that was it,'' Favre said. ``Then, everything I'd heard or seen was from coaches and players. Laveranues didn't really go out of his way to come over and say, 'Hey, I can make plays for you.' I know that. I didn't need to be told that.''
Coles did recently lobby to the coaching staff to get more involved, and they listened.
``There's no substitute for us physically working together,'' Favre said. ``The guy, he made some catches the other day that were better than outstanding, and (he's) not completely healthy.''
Favre was already in his 10th NFL season when Coles began his pro career with the Jets in 2000. Coles was asked what he would've said to someone 10 years ago if they said he'd someday catch touchdown passes from Favre.
``I'd probably say they were on drugs,'' Coles said with a big laugh.
Coles, tied for the team lead with 18 receptions, gave the ball from his first touchdown catch Sunday - a 12-yard bullet in the back of the end zone - to a fan in the stands wearing his No. 87 jersey.
``Those are the people that hold me in their hearts,'' he said, ``and I try to give them the ball as a token of my appreciation.''
a 34-yard strike down the left sideline - after jumping into an excited Favre's arms.
``I can tell my kids that I caught a touchdown from Brett Favre,'' Coles said. ``My granddaddy tells me stories about himself all the time and I don't believe any of it, probably because he doesn't have anything to show for it. But when you actually have footballs, you can say, 'Look, this is what I really did.'''
Coles' third TD catch came from 2 yards out, and he celebrated by giving the ball to the man who threw it to him.
``Not too many times in my career has someone given me the ball,'' Favre said after the game. ``He said, 'I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I already have two today. This one is for you.' I'll keep it. I'll put it up in my trophy case.''
It was just one huge game for Favre and Coles, but the two are excited by the possibilities.
``When I say that this team has a lot of potential, I really believe it,'' Favre said. ``The question is, can the chemistry come together pretty quickly? I think you're seeing flashes of it.''

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