- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who didn't show for a game and went AWOL last weekend for 48 hours, was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and received additional discipline from the team, the Jets announced Tuesday night.
The team didn't disclose the exact nature of the discipline, but it's likely a fine. Patterson is eligible to return Monday, when the Jets start preparations for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
The announcement came one day after the Jets suspended him indefinitely for what they termed an "unexcused" absence, which irked the organization and some teammates. On Monday, general manager John Idzik indicated it wouldn't take long to make a decision on Patterson's fate.
Earlier Tuesday, coach Rex Ryan said he didn't expect a verdict to come down until after the final preseason game, Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Evidently, the Jets felt comfortable with the information they gathered as to what prompted the journeyman cornerback to bolt for two days. Idzik had said they needed time to investigate what led to Patterson's "drastic" behavior.
Team officials referred to Patterson's actions as "baffling" and "highly unusual," wondering whether Patterson is 100 percent committed to the team. There was speculation that he could be released, a notion the Jets didn't immediately dismiss.
The suspension doesn't preclude the Jets from cutting Patterson over the weekend, when teams are making their final cuts, but that seems unlikely, considering they announced he's eligible to rejoin the team Monday.
Beset by injuries, the Jets are desperate at cornerback, which might have factored into their decision to retain Patterson -- for the time being, anyway. Neither Ryan nor Idzik was available to comment on the suspension.
The mystery started Friday night, when Patterson didn't show for the Jets' game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Team officials tried frantically to locate him, not knowing until the next day -- through his agent -- that he was safe and unharmed.
Patterson met Sunday night with Ryan and Idzik, explaining his behavior. The Jets have refused to divulge Patterson's reasoning, but the well-traveled veteran, 31, was disgruntled with his role on defense, according to a source.
The decision to move safety Antonio Allen to cornerback apparently didn't sit well. Patterson also might have been miffed that he wasn't slated to start against the Giants -- if, in fact, he was cleared to play. It was to be a game-time decision. Ryan confirmed that Patterson wouldn't have started.
"He hadn't worked to that extent, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't have put him in there with the ones at some point," Ryan said.
Asked whether Patterson expressed unhappiness with his role, Ryan said, "I'm not going to speculate on anything."
The Jets signed Patterson to a one-year, $3 million contract in free agency, projecting him as a starter opposite Dee Milliner. It was a controversial signing because of Patterson's injury history (33 missed games since 2011) and because they failed to sign any of the big-name corners in free agency.
Patterson was hurt early in training camp, suffering calf, ankle and quadriceps injuries. He played poorly in the first preseason game and spent the next two weeks on the sideline, rehabbing. The Jets were hoping he'd return against the Giants.
Patterson might have to ease tensions in the locker before he's welcomed back.
"I think there's a level of accountability," guard Willie 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."
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