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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Report: Muhammad Wilkerson has ‘regularly’ shown up late to team meetings

Mo Wilkerson

Muhammad Wilkerson was benched by the New York Jets for the first quarter of the team’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday as punishment for showing up late to a team meeting the day prior. Apparently that has been a common occurrence in 2017.

According to Connor Hughes of NJ.com, Wilkerson has shown up late to numerous team meetings this season. There have also been some that he has missed altogether.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles issues fines when players are late to team meetings, and he benches players when it happens multiple times. There is no set number of meetings a player can be tardy to before he is benched, but Wilkerson has reportedly been late to or missed five morning meetings since the preseason.

Linebacker Darron Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, was a surprise inactive for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, and Hughes notes that he was being disciplined for showing up late to Saturday’s practice.

This isn’t the first time we have heard rumblings about Wilkerson missing meetings. He and former Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson supposedly missed numerous team meetings, and Richardson was traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the season. Bowles said Monday that he still views Wilkerson as a “leader” for the Jets.

“It’s part of the game,” Bowles said. “No different than raising your kids. They’re going to do some things, and you’re going to be pissed off. But they’re still your kids. You’ll still love them up the next day, and keep moving.

“You earn trust. (Wilkerson and Lee) earned a lot of trust. You make mistakes. You lose trust. You have to earn it back.”

Wilkerson signed a five-year, $86 million extension with the Jets when he was coming off a 12-sack season in 2015. Since then, he has just seven sacks in 27 games and has had some unflattering things written about him by the local media. With Wilkerson’s $16.75 million salary for 2018 not becoming fully guaranteed until the third day of the official league year in March, you have to wonder if the Jets are thinking about moving on.

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