As training camp opened on Thursday, the already weak Jets offense took another step backwards. Newly signed running back Mike Goodson was a no-show and veteran running back/return man Joe McKnight failed the team’s conditioning test.
Goodson signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract in the off-season, and currently faces drugs and weapons charges from a May arrest. It is unknown if his current legal troubles are related to his absence but given the circumstances it would not be absurd to draw a correlation between the two — Goodson was found in a car on New Jersey highway, intoxicated and in possession of a semi-automatic gun, drug paraphernalia, and two partially smoked marijuana cigars.
Following news of Goodson’s absence, the Jets released a statement from Rex Ryan, “We knew Mike was not going to report and we understand why he’s not here,” Ryan said.
ESPN New York also received a text from Goodson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, which read “Mike is addressing a few personal matters. John Idzik and the Jets are aware and are supportive.”
Time will tell if the Jets are actually supportive of Goodson or merely providing a smoke screen to cover their backs, given their recent track record of poor free agent signings.
On the other hand, the Jets may not be so supportive of Joe McKnight, another running back, who was placed on the physically unable to perform list after he failed the team fitness tests on Thursday. The same Joe McKnight who was adamant that the signings of Goodson and Chris Ivory wouldn’t jeopardize his job.
“Like I said, I don’t care who they bring in,” McKnight told the media in May. “They’re going to have to kill me to take my spot. So, whoever they bring in, I don’t care.”
McKnight’s lack of fitness is not really the worrying issue here — after all that’s why teams have nearly 2 months of training camp. What is worrisome, though, is McKnights frame of mind and current level of motivation, given he knew he’d have a battle on his hands. McKnight is far from a lock to be on the Jets roster when they open the season against the Tampa Bay Buccanners, and given his recent performance, he just made the job that much harder.