Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson Says He’s Ready to Prove His Big Deal Didn’t Make Him Lazy

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson enters 2017 intent on proving doubters wrong, Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

He didn’t play well in 2016, after getting a lucrative contract last summer. But he was also rehabbing from a broken leg he sustained in the 2015 season finale.

Then again, Wilkerson didn’t do himself any favors by having tardiness issues that resulted in him being suspended for the first quarter of the Jets’ loss in Miami.

Wilkerson said Friday, during an interview with ESPN New York radio, that he wants to prove he isn’t just in it for the money — after his sack total dropped from 12 in 2015 to 4.5 last year.

“At the end of the day, I did have an injury,” he said of his 2016 struggles. “I didn’t use it as an excuse. Each and every week, I went out there and I did the best I could. I do have a chip on my shoulder. People feel that I was just money hungry – and I just took the money, and now I’m lazy. But I can prove to people that it’s more than about money with me.”

Wilkerson also responded to an offseason report that he appeared out of shape, while saying he is motivated in 2017 to play like he did before 2016.

“For me personally, it’s a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “Some stuff, like the whole weight situation, you’ve got some people who just blurt out stuff and put out stories for no reason. And there’s no truth behind it. I guess that’s the job. You have to write a story, if you want to say that.

“I’m a competitor. I know I didn’t play well last year. I know what I need to do, and know how to play. That’s why I have a chip on my shoulder, just to prove that I’m the same Mo that I’ve been playing [like] before last year.”


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