NEW YORK (AP) – Dimitri Patterson went from likely starting cornerback for the New York Jets to being out of a job – all in the span of one bizarre week.
The Jets released Patterson on Saturday, capping a strange stretch that included an unexcused absence, accusations from both the cornerback and the team, and a suspension.
The move came as the Jets got down to the mandatory 53-player roster limit. Also among the team’s 21 cuts were wide receiver Stephen Hill, running backs Daryl Richardson and Alex Green, and quarterbacks Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd.
The Jets also placed linebacker Antwan Barnes on the reserve-physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a knee injury suffered last season. Barnes could begin practicing Oct. 14, with the possibility of being activated within the following three weeks.
Patterson was suspended Tuesday for the rest of the preseason after he left the team, according to the Jets, and went missing before the preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 22 without speaking to anyone in the organization.
The team said Patterson was at meetings, a walkthrough and the pregame meal, but didn’t show for the game at MetLife Stadium.
General manager John Idzik said 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 two days later at the training facility.
Idzik also said he learned Patterson was OK only last Saturday through agent Drew Rosenhaus.
But in a statement to ESPN on Thursday, Patterson said the Jets’ claims that he went missing for 48 hours without notifying the team were “completely false.”
Patterson said Rosenhaus contacted the Jets “multiple times several hours prior to Friday night’s game.”
The 31-year-old Patterson was expected to start opposite Dee Milliner, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain, after signing with the Jets in April. He dealt with a few leg ailments throughout training camp, and played only in the preseason opener.
Patterson was eligible to rejoin the team on Monday, but the Jets decided to cut ties. There was some speculation that Patterson was disappointed with his standing on the Jets’ depth chart, but he denied that in his statement, saying it was “totally and completely false.”
But neither Patterson nor the Jets have revealed the reasons for his absence.
The move to part ways with Hill wasn’t a major surprise after the 2012 second-round draft pick had two seasons marked by injuries and inconsistent play.
Hill was a raw receiver when he came out of Georgia Tech, which ran a heavy run-first offense, but the Jets were high on his speed and athleticism. They traded up in the second round to draft Hill, but he finished with 45 catches for 594 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons – ending both on injured reserve.
“I’m disappointed in Idzik and Rex with the way the whole thing went down there,” agent Alan Herman told USA Today. “Two years in that kind of situation is disheartening. He didn’t have a chance that first year with that whole Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez fiasco. His second year, Geno Smith was learning how to play quarterback. So they never threw the ball deep because they wanted to simplify things for Geno.”
The cuts of both Richardson and Green came after Ryan acknowledged the Jets could go with four running backs. It appears the Jets will go into the season with the trio of Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell in the backfield.
With Simms and Boyd both let go, New York will have just two quarterbacks on the roster: Smith and Michael Vick.
Also released were: wide receiver Clyde Gates, linebackers Garrett McIntyre, Troy Davis and A.J. Edds, tight end Chris Pantale, defensive linemen Tevita Finau, Kerry Hyder and Zach Thompson, guards Will Campbell and Caleb Schlauderaff, offensive tackle Brent Qvale, cornerbacks Brandon Dixon, Johnny Patrick and Jeremy Reeves, and safety Rontez Miles.
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