It’s Mo Wilkerson’s party and he’ll no-show if he wants to.
Though Todd Bowles won’t say why he benched Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson for the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the Dolphins, details are quickly leaking out about what sparked the discipline.
Wilkerson went out on Oct. 21, the night before his birthday, and missed the team’s walk-through on Oct. 22, the day before the Jets’ game against the Ravens, the Daily News learned. At that point Wilkerson, who had been hampered by an ankle injury, had no intention of playing in the game against the Ravens, which he did indeed miss.
NFL.com reported that the team had had a birthday cake ready for Wilkerson on the day the defensive end didn’t show.
Earlier Monday the Daily News learned that Wilkerson and Richardson had been late to a meeting earlier last week, prompting their first-quarter benching against the Dolphins.
Bowles wouldn’t comment on Monday’s revelation, including the birthday cake.
Sheldon Richardson (91) and Muhammad Wilkerson (96) were benched for the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins in Miami.
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)
“That’s a coaching decision,” Bowles said. “Any decisions I make outside of injuries and football we usually handle in-house. I don’t usually divulge that kind of information one way or the other.”
NFL.com also reported that Wilkerson missed a walk-through before the team’s win over the Ravens in Week 7.
Richardson didn’t shed much light on why he was on the sideline for the first 15 minutes of the game either when he spoke to SNY in the postgame locker room. Asked why he wasn’t playing, Richardson simply said, “That was the starting lineup and that’s where I was.” He didn’t speak to reporters after his on-camera interview.
Wilkerson showed no accountability by blowing past reporters after the game. While Bowles had never before benched Richardson for disciplinary reasons, it was the second time that he had benched Wilkerson. The veteran defensive lineman was benched for the first quarter of the Jets’ 23-20 win over the Giants in Week 13 last year for being late for a team meeting earlier that week. The team also fined Wilkerson.
Wilkerson has been a non-factor since signing a blockbuster five-year, $85 million contract in the offseason. He didn’t produce for weeks before conveniently mentioning that his ankle/foot had been bothering him. Wilkerson didn’t play in the Jets’ win over the Ravens two weeks ago before returning for the victory against the Browns last week. He has a grand total of 2-1/2 sacks since landing his big payday.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News