INDIANAPOLIS - Three players on the Jets have been arrested in the last three months. One of them has been arrested for the second time in a year. That's a problem and a bad look for a franchise with an image issue.
But Todd Bowles says it doesn't mean the Jets have a character problem, too.
"No," he said at the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday. "You hit some bumps in the road. It's not going to be squeaky clean. You deal with them as they come."
Unfortunately for the Jets, they've had far too many to deal with lately. They've run the gamut from the seemingly minor (cornerback Rashard Robinson), to the nearly tragic (linebacker Dylan Donahue), to the truly disturbing and disgusting (receiver Robby Anderson).
Anderson seemed to be the one that most concerned the Jets, especially since it was his second arrest in nine months. He was arrested in January after a high-speed chase, and afterwards, made a vulgar threat to sexually assault the arresting officer's wife, according to the police report. He faces nine charges, including three felonies.
And that's on top of the felony charge of resisting arrest with violence he has pending from when he allegedly shoved a police officer at a music festival last May (he's due in court for that on March 26).
The others are big deals too, though. Donahue was arrested Monday and charged with DWI after recklessly driving the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel, and crashing head-first into a small bus. And Robinson was arrested for being in possession of edible marijuana last December. What bothered the Jets most about that, though, is he didn't bother to inform the team.
Both Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan - who said he's had "frank conversations" with his arrested players -- say they plan to let the legal processes play out before they impose any discipline, knowing the NFL might have a say in that discipline too. They don't necessarily have to, though.
Which begs the question: Why not cut their losses? And what exactly would a player have to do to make the Jets say they've had enough?
"There's a lot of things," Bowles said. "There are some things that are unacceptable, which is a long list that I can't go into. It's a laundry list. And some things that happen you try to give them a chance. You think they'll grow from (them). You kind of have to have a feel for your players and you kind of go from there."
The Jets have had a history of being forgiving, and sometimes it has worked out. In 2016, they claimed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins off waiver, for example, after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an arrest for DUI. By all accounts, Seferian-Jenkins has been an excellent addition to the locker room, has cleaned up, and turned his life around.
So every situation and player is different. And the recent volume of incidents and arrests isn't likely to change how the Jets evaluate the character of the players they draft and sign.
"I think we do quite a bit of research on these players," Maccagnan said. "I don't think we have to do anything necessarily different in how we do our process. These things do come up. These things do happen. We will evaluate as we go forward. In the scouting process in general, I think every team sort of self-scouts and sort of evaluates things. If something happens that is not expected, they go back and figure out why. We actually feel pretty good about our process and we're very thorough and we have a lot of people involved in this process to make sure we vet them appropriately."
It's also possible the Jets will discipline all three. Bowles seemed upset with Robinson, whom the Jets traded for last October, because his arrest was "something we didn't know about during the season -- and that's a problem that we're not going to have going forward." Maccagnan was noncommittal about his future, saying "He has a lot of ability, a lot of potential. We'll see how things unfold."
As for Donahue, when his incident happened, most of the Jets' decision-makers were either at the combine, or on their way, and they are still gathering information. And as for Robinson, they want to wait for all the facts to come out, for starters in his upcoming trial.
"They're definitely things we don't take lightly," Maccagnan said. "But they are legal things that are playing themselves out right now and we're going to see how the legal process plays out. The NFL is going to be involved with these. They'll make their determination on how they're going to handle that or discipline that, too. We'll see how this thing plays out going forward."