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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who met with team officials Sunday night to explain why he was AWOL for 48 hours, was suspended indefinitely Monday by the team.
General manager John Idzik said the organization is still investigating Patterson's mysterious disappearance. He refused to disclose the reason that Patterson -- a projected starter -- gave them during their meeting late Sunday. Evidently, they weren't satisfied by it.
Idzik said the suspension will be brief.
"It will give us more time to gather more information, what led to his behavior," Idzik told reporters. "That way we'll make a well-informed decision on what discipline will be forthcoming -- and there will be discipline involved."
Idzik, who said he's not sure Patterson is 100 percent committed to the team, didn't rule out the possibility of releasing him.
Idzik and coach Rex Ryan met with Patterson at the team's facility in what the GM described as "a listening session." Patterson apparently doesn't think he did anything wrong.
"Obviously, Dimitri felt he acted appropriately," Idzik said.
Patterson texted ESPN's Josina Anderson on Monday, writing, "Yes, I'm ok and I'm not going AWOL either. Comical."
There are many theories swirling around the team, including the notion that he's unhappy with his role. Some find that hard to believe, considering he has played mostly with the starting unit, when healthy.
Ryan sidestepped all questions about Patterson, except to say, "It's a serious situation." The coach wouldn't divulge anything about his meeting with the player, saying those conversations are private. Ryan said he's never had a player go AWOL for a game.
Patterson was a no-show for Friday night's game at MetLife Stadium even though he attended meetings, a walk-through and a pregame meal. Ryan said he was hoping to use him in the game, depending on how he looked in the pre-game warmups. Patterson has missed significant practice time due to leg injuries, but had shown improvement in recent days, according to the team.
The Jets tried frantically to track him down, but he didn't return messages. It wasn't until Saturday that they confirmed, through his agent, that he was safe. But Idzik and Ryan never spoke to Patterson directly until Sunday night. He didn't show for Sunday's practice.
|The Jets suspended cornerback Dimitri Patterson indefinitely for going AWOL over the weekend.|
Guard Willie Colon, one of the team leaders, said Patterson will have to explain himself if and when he rejoins the team.
"I think there's a level of accountability," Colon said. "I think if he's able to stand up in front of the team and say, 'Hey, this is how I felt, such-and-such happened,' whether it's right, wrong or indifferent, for him to say something would be welcomed. We'll have to proceed from there."
This is a strange and mysterious twist for a team dealing with adversity at the cornerback position. Right now, their most experienced healthy corner is Kyle Wilson, who plays the slot. Patterson, too, is banged up, recovering from calf, ankle and quadriceps injuries.
Patterson came to the Jets with a reputation for being injury prone, and he missed a good chunk of training camp with various ailments. From 2011 to 2013, he missed 33 games due to injuries. On Sunday, an acquaintance wondered if Patterson, 31, is thinking about retirement, fearing his body could be breaking down. He has a reputation around the team for being a diva.
The Jets can't afford to lose another body at cornerback. Top corner Dee Milliner (high ankle sprain) is a question mark for the season opener, Antonio Allen suffered a concussion Friday night, and rookie Dexter McDougle suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp.
Ryan didn't sound optimistic about Milliner's chances of playing in the season opener. The former No. 1 pick, who suffered the injury two weeks ago, still isn't running at full speed.
"I'm hopeful he'll be ready, but to say that's a 100-percent guarantee, that's not true," Ryan said.
Right now, the starting corners would be Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, both career backups.
After failing to land any of the marquee cornerbacks in free agency, fueling a torrent of criticism, the Jets signed Patterson to a one-year, $3 million contract to replace Antonio Cromartie, whom they released. Ryan said they have always had "big plans" for Patterson, indicating he would likely be a starter.