The New York Jets came away with a victory in Sunday’s battle with Kansas City, but did so without first-rounder Darron Lee. The second year linebacker was announced as a healthy scratch prior to the game. Head coach Todd Bowles addressed the situation post game.
“I make coach’s decisions every week. You’re disappointed and then you move on,” Bowles said. “We handle it. We take care of it.” Bowles also mentioned that the team “won’t let it linger.”
While Bowles wouldn’t specifically say why Lee was held away from the team, sources close with the situation say it was due to Lee arriving late to a team practice (NJ Advance Media).
Lee briefly touched upon the topic after the Jets’ wild victory and hinted towards his violation:
“I take full responsibility for it,” Lee said. “I let my guys down today.”
Darron Lee said he violated team rules. Won’t go into additional details. He addressed team and apologized to them all #Jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) December 3, 2017
The linebacker has been a crucial defensive playmaker for the Jets as of late. He has started in all 11 games this season, compiling 73 tackles, three sacks, three passes defended and two forced fumbles.
Bowles also surprised the media and fans when he forced standout defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson to sit out for nearly the entire first quarter. Wilkerson had seen similar punishment last year for reportedly being late for a team meeting. This week, it was more of the same.
The same source reports that Wilkerson arrived late to a recent team meeting, something Bowles doesn’t take too lightly.
“It was a coach’s decision,” said Wilkerson, who played his first snap with less than a minute remaining in the opening period. “That’s all I’m going to keep saying. That’s all it is.”
After being benched for first quarter, Muhammad Wilkerson led #Jets with 6 total tackles and also had a half-sack.
— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) December 3, 2017
This was the third time in three seasons that Wilkerson has faced discipline for being late to a team meeting.
Bowles let the media know that both defensive strongholds will return next week against Denver.