Two of the New York Jets’ best defensive linemen, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, were benched for the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins. After the game, nobody from the Jets gave a reason for the decision to have Wilkerson and Richardson sit, but reports emerged Monday that paint a clearer picture.
According to Connor Hughes of New Jersey Advance Media, a source close to the situation said that Richardson and Wilkerson miss team meetings regularly. The source added that it happens “regularly” and “definitely” more frequently than other Jets players miss team meetings.
Apparently, nothing can convince Wilkerson to show up for defensive meetings — not even birthday cake.
Mo Wilkerson missed walk-thru before Ravens game and a defensive meeting where team had a cake to celebrate his birthday, per @MikeGarafolo.— Dan Hanzus (@DanHanzus) November 7, 2016
Wilkerson left the locker room following Sunday’s loss without speaking to reporters. Richardson answered questions, but didn’t add much clarity to the situation.
"That was the starting lineup and that's where I was," Richardson said.
Head coach Todd Bowles didn’t give any reason for Wilkerson and Richardson’s benching, saying only that it was a coaches’ decision.
Todd Bowles won't comment on why he benched Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Is he satisfied w/their committment level? "Yes, I am."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 7, 2016
Wilkerson was benched for the first quarter of the Jets’ 2015 matchup against the New York Giants for being late to a team meeting, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
The Dolphins scored a touchdown on a 20-yard Jay Ajayi run on Miami’s first possession of the game with Richardson and Wilkerson on the sideline. Richardson has 35 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season so far, and Wilkerson has 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The Jets lost, 27-23.