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Dimitri Patterson rejoins Jets

AWOL for nearly 48 hours, New York Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson returned to the team's facility Sunday night and met with Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.

The team announced the meeting, but provided no additional comment.

Word of his anticipated return, leaked earlier by his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, came two hours after Idzik announced that Patterson didn't show up for Friday night's game and couldn't be reached or located. Idzik termed it an "unexcused" absence, saying he still hadn't talked to Patterson. The only thing the Jets knew was that he was safe and unharmed, Idzik said.

Rosenhaus declined to comment on the reason for Patterson's disappearance.

This is a strange and mysterious twist for a team dealing with adversity at the cornerback position. Right now, their most experienced healthy corner is Kyle Wilson, who plays the slot. Patterson, too, is banged up, recovering from calf, ankle and quadriceps injuries.

Idzik hinted that Patterson could be disciplined, but he declined to speculate on whether the absence would result in a fine or impact his standing on the team. Idzik said he needed to speak with Patterson before making that determination. He wanted to find out why the well-traveled veteran "would take such a drastic step."

On Friday, Patterson attended meetings, the walk through and the pre-game meal, but he never showed up at MetLife Stadium. Because of his injuries, he was questionable to play. At first, they thought he may have been stuck in traffic. Team officials spent the night trying to track him down, making numerous phone calls. 

"Without putting an APB out, you're trying everything you can," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "You're trying all the numbers you have, you name it. ... Obviously, as the game wore on, we still had a major concern."

It wasn't until Saturday that Idzik confirmed that Patterson was okay, but the team still didn't know his whereabouts. The players were off Saturday. On Sunday, he didn't show up for practice.

Idzik doesn't believe it was a legal matter.

"Not to my knowledge," he said. "We have a very cursory knowledge of what's going on. That's the extent of it. We know he's okay and haven't been able to communicate with him. That's it in a nut shell."

One teammate said it was odd that Patterson was in uniform but didn't participate in an open practice last Thursday night at Hofstra. At the time, Ryan was non-committal on whether he expected him to play against the Giants.

Patterson came to the Jets with a reputation for being injury prone, and he missed a good chunk of training camp with various ailments. From 2011 to 2013, he missed 33 games due to injuries. On Sunday, an acquaintance wondered if Patterson, 31, is thinking about retirement, fearing his body could be breaking down.

Idzik said he never got the impression that Patterson is unhappy.

"No, that's what's really baffling," said Idzik, claiming Patterson has been engaged in meetings.

The Jets can't afford to lose another body at cornerback. Top corner Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) is a question mark for the season opener, Antonio Allen suffered a concussion Friday night and rookie Dexter McDougle suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp.

Right now, their starting corners would be Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, both career backups.

After failing to land any of the marquee cornerbacks in free agency, fueling a torrent of criticism, the Jets signed Patterson to a one-year, $3 million contract to replace Antonio Cromartie, whom they released. Ryan said they've always had "big plans" for Patterson, indicating he'd be a likely starter.

Predictably, the Jets downplayed the dire situation.

"Oh, shoot, you just go on," Ryan said. "You go about your business. You coach the guys that are here and the guys that are healthy. We won't look back, regardless. We hope everything works out and he's with us, but we're going to be full-steam ahead and that's the way we'll handle our biz."

Patterson reported to training camp full of confidence, promising he'd solve the cornerback concerns.

"Fans like high profiles. I don't have a high profile, but my film is legit," he said at the time. "When the season comes, I'll show everyone why I've been in the league so long."

Related Video
Jets CB Patterson Missing From Team
Jets CB Patterson Missing From Team
ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini breaks down the latest on cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who is planning to rejoin the team after being AWOL for nearly 48 hours.
Related Topics:
sports espn missing dimitri patterson new york jets antonio allen nfl awol dexter mcdougle dee milliner
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