Jets' Wilkerson benched for Saints clash

December 16, 2017


FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey (AP):

There will be no Mo in New Orleans. The New York Jets have benched defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for the game against the New Orleans Saints tomorrow the latest in what has become a string of discipline issues involving the franchise's highest-paid player.

Coach Todd Bowles announced yesterday that Wilkerson will not travel with the team - just two weeks after the 2011 first-round draft pick was benched for most of the first quarter against Kansas City.

"It's a coach's decision," said Bowles, adding it was not injury-related.

Bowles would neither confirm nor deny the decision to leave Wilkerson home was a disciplinary action. But NJ Advance Media reported that Wilkerson was late for the Jets' team meeting yesterday morning.

"I'm just worried about the guys going to the game tomorrow, and I'm going to coach those 53 guys," Bowles said before repeating it several times when pushed for details.

Bowles also would not say whether the benching could last for more than just one game.

This is just the latest issue involving Wilkerson, who sat out the first few series against Kansas City on December 3 for being late to a team meeting.

He has also been punished the last two seasons for tardiness. He was benched for the first quarter against the Giants in 2015 and again against Miami last season when he missed a walkthrough practice.

Bowles said he addressed the decision with his team yesterday, but would not discuss what was said.

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