NEW YORK — Dimitri Patterson disputes the New York Jets’ version of his mysterious absence.
The suspended cornerback said in a statement to ESPN on Thursday that the Jets’ claims that he went missing for 48 hours without notifying the team are “completely false.”
Patterson was suspended Tuesday for the rest of the preseason after he left the team, according to the Jets, and went missing last Friday night before the preseason game against the Giants without speaking to anyone in the organization.
Patterson was at meetings, a walkthrough and the pregame meal last Friday, but didn’t show for the game later that night at MetLife Stadium. General manager John Idzik said earlier this week that Patterson gave the Jets no warning he would leave the team, and didn’t speak to anyone directly until he met with Idzik and coach Rex Ryan on Sunday night at the training facility.
Idzik also said at that time that he learned Patterson was OK only on Saturday through agent Drew Rosenhaus.
“As it relates to my whereabouts and me missing for 48 hours without being seen or heard from me or my representative is completely false,” Patterson said in his statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “My agent reached out to the Jets organization multiple times several hours prior to Friday night’s game. My commitment to the Jets organization and to my teammates has never been an issue and never will be an issue.”
Neither the Jets nor Rosenhaus had any immediate comment regarding Patterson’s statement.
Patterson did not disclose any details as to why he was absent, and the Jets have also declined to reveal the cornerback’s reasons for leaving the team last week.
Patterson was suspended indefinitely by the Jets on Monday so the team could gather facts. The Jets then determined Tuesday he would be suspended for the rest of the preseason — basically for the rest of this week — and the team also added additional undisclosed discipline, likely a fine. He is eligible to rejoin the team Monday.
The 31-year-old Patterson, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in April, still faces an uncertain future with the Jets, however, particularly since he did not go through the team to issue his statement.
There was some speculation that Patterson’s absence stemmed from being upset with his spot on the team’s depth chart, something he also disputed in his statement.
“As it relates to the rumors about my frustration in regards to the depth chart is totally and completely false.” Patterson said. “In nine years, I have never had control over the depth chart.”
Patterson had been projected as a starter for the regular season, but has been hampered most of the summer by ankle, calf and quadriceps injuries. He has played only in the preseason opener against Indianapolis — and struggled because of the injuries.
Ryan acknowledged that Patterson wasn’t going to start against the Giants, but could have entered with the first-team defense at some point — as long as he felt OK in warmups.
The Jets’ cornerback situation is shaky, and Patterson’s saga adds to a tumultuous summer at the position.
Dee Milliner, expected to start opposite Patterson, is recovering from a high ankle sprain that has his status for the opener in doubt. Third-round draft pick Dexter McDougle is out for the year with a torn knee ligament. Safety-turned-cornerback Antonio Allen is working his way back from a concussion suffered against the Giants.
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