INDIANAPOLIS — It’s wrong to paint the Jets as the league’s new renegade outfit given their recent run-ins with the law (three arrests in the past three months), but it’s fair to wonder whether Gang Green will take a hardline stance on these embarrassing incidents.
Cornerback Rashard Robinson, wide receiver Robby Anderson and outside linebacker Dylan Donahue committed various acts of stupidity that should prompt Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles to take real action. Although each player’s cases are winding through the court system, it would behoove Jets brass to be proactive on Donahue’s most recent DWI arrest that could have very easily ended tragically.
Donahue, limited to four games as a rookie due to season-ending elbow surgery, was nabbed for reckless driving after going the wrong way into the Lincoln Tunnel before crashing into a jitney bus this week. Donahue’s feel-good story from NAIA drop-out (partly due to alcohol problems, by the way) to Division II star to Jets fifth-round draft pick shouldn’t cloud what must happen here. He endangered his life and the lives of innocent people. They’re all lucky not to be dead.
Donahue deserves a second chance … but that second chance should come with another team. Look no further than tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who needed a change of scenery to piece together his life after a second DWI arrest. Donahue can learn a valuable personal lesson and still carve out an NFL career, but the Jets need to move on given the state of their franchise.
“We obviously take those (arrests) very seriously,” Maccagnan said this week from the NFL Scouting Combine. “We don’t take it lightly. I’ve had frank conversations with both of those players (Donahue and Anderson). So, we’ll see how things go going forward.”
Here’s how things should go: Donahue must be released at the start of the new league year in a couple weeks. Anderson, arrested for the second time within a year, must grow up. (Real talk: The wide receiver’s decision to threaten to sexually assault the arresting officer’s wife after getting stopped for speeding likely led to nine charges being filed.) Anderson’s words were inexcusable, but Donahue’s actions were frightening.
Although Todd Bowles expressed “some concern” about Anderson’s pair of run-ins with the law, there’s a feeling in the organization that the second-year wideout needs to A) distance himself from certain elements in his Florida hometown and B) mature in a hurry.
It’s naïve to suggest that Anderson’s skill level (he’s much more important to the team than the other two guys) doesn’t factor into the equation. If he wasn’t the team’s leading receiver (941 yards, seven TDs), he might be on the chopping block too.
“Any time you have trouble with the law, obviously, you’re disappointed,” Bowles said. “These things happen. It’s a legal matter right now, so we’re going to wait to see how everything plays out.”
Anderson will likely be disciplined by the NFL, which folks on One Jets Drive hope will help him ultimately get back on the straight and narrow path.
Although Robinson’s arrest for possession of edible marijuana pales in comparison to Donahue’s act, Bowles clearly wasn’t thrilled that the team wasn’t aware of the arrest until the news became public weeks later.
“That’s a problem,” Bowles said. “That was something we didn’t know about during the season. That’s a problem that we’re not going to have going forward for certain people that are repeat offenders. We’ll see how the cases come out of each of them, and we’ll deal with them accordingly.”
It’s impossible for any locker room to be composed entirely of choir boys. It’s also unfair to suggest that there’s a culture problem on One Jets Drive given these three incidents.
“We do quite a bit of research on these players,” Maccagnan said. “I don’t think we have to do anything necessarily different in how we do our process. These things do come up. These things do happen. We will evaluate as we go forward. We actually feel pretty good about our process. We’re very thorough.”
The Jets’ evaluation process is indeed comprehensive, but Maccagnan needs to cut the cord when players endanger lives. It doesn’t matter if the player is a draft pick. It should be non-negotiable.
Send a Letter to the Editor