NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — He’s back, but he won’t be on the field any time soon.
Dimitri Patterson’s mysterious absence has led to an indefinite suspension, Jets general manager John Idzik announced on Monday.
The veteran cornerback rejoined the Jets on Sunday night after inexplicably not showing up for the team’s game against the Giants on Friday night.
The Jets announced that Patterson returned to the team’s training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, and spoke with Idzik and coach Rex Ryan.
But that was before the Jets decided to discipline the veteran corner. When the team took the practice field on Monday, Patterson was nowhere to be found.
“Obviously, Dimitri felt he acted appropriately, but until we discussed it last night, you don’t understand.” Idzik said. “And, to be honest, we’re still trying to understand all that went behind it. So, I would rather not characterize it.
“It’ll give us a little time to gather a more information around what led to his behavior,” Idzik added. “I think that way, we’ll feel like we’ll make a very well-informed decision as to what discipline will be forthcoming — and there will be discipline involved.”
Adding to the intrigue, Patterson sent an odd text to Josina Anderson of ESPN.
When told of Patterson’s comments, Idzik said: “I’ll just say, he left and we didn’t hear from him until we saw him yesterday evening.”
Patterson was expected to start for the Jets as long as he was healthy. New York signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal in April, but now there are questions about his commitment to the team.
“That’s what we’re going to try to decipher,” Idzik said. “That’s why you really want to get to the bottom of it.”
Patterson left the team for about 48 hours, a situation that Idzik called “highly unusual.” Idzik announced during a conference call Sunday that he learned through agent Drew Rosenhaus on Saturday that Patterson was OK physically and it is not believed to be a legal issue.
But at that time, neither Idzik nor Ryan had heard from Patterson directly after leaving several messages for him.
“Needless to say, this situation was not expected and is highly unusual,” Idzik said.
The 31-year-old Patterson was with the team Thursday night at a walkthrough practice at Hofstra University. Idzik said he was also present for meetings, a walkthrough and the pregame meal Friday, but didn’t show for the game at MetLife Stadium that night.
“Obviously, as the game went on, we still had major concerns for his health and where he was, but were unable to locate him,” Ryan said.
Ryan was asked about Patterson after the game, but the coach didn’t let on that there was anything wrong, saying that the Jets would see if he could play in the preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday.
“Quite honestly, at that point, I had no idea where he was, what his situation was and was really uncomfortable to go into details about it,” Ryan said.
Patterson, who has been dealing with ankle, calf and quadriceps injuries all summer, was expected to play against the Giants but it was uncertain how much.
Both Idzik and Ryan said they had no indication that Patterson was unhappy, but thought he might have been frustrated with his injuries — although he was working his way back onto the field.
“There really wasn’t any warning that we had of something like this,” Idzik said. “There was nothing to indicate this kind of behavior.”
The players had a day off Saturday, but returned to the facility Sunday. Patterson didn’t show until sometime Sunday night.
Patterson’s situation is the latest in what has been a brutal summer for the Jets’ cornerbacks. Top cornerback Dee Milliner is recovering from a high ankle sprain, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready in time for the regular-season opener on Sept. 7.
Third-round draft pick Dexter McDougle was lost for the season during training camp after tearing a knee ligament. A few other backup cornerbacks have also dealt with injuries throughout the summer.
The team is so thin at the position, safety Antonio Allen has started the past two preseason games at cornerback. But Allen is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol after injuring his head against the Giants.
“We hope that with Dimitri everything works out and he’s with us, but we’re going to be full steam ahead,” Ryan said. “That’s the way we’ll handle our business.”
NOTES: Ryan announced that QB Michael Vick will start at Philadelphia against his former team Thursday night, “but don’t expect him to play long.” Geno Smith and the rest of the team’s starters are expected to sit against the Eagles. … Smith, announced as the Week 1 starter by Ryan on Friday, said he has always been confident, but “I caught myself second-guessing myself last year for a lot of reasons.” Smith, who struggled through an up-and-down rookie year, said he always knew he could play, but had to “fight through a bunch of different things, and I had to learn as well.” … LBs Troy Davis (quad) and Ikemefuna Enemkpali (foot) didn’t practice Sunday, and neither did WR Stephen Hill (illness).
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