Unfortunately for Jets fans and the ravenous mainstream media, Idzik’s tire tracks are far too light right now to spell out Mike Goodson’s fate.
One thing is certain: Goodson, one of Idzik’s first budget-conscious signings as Jets general manager, put his new boss in a highly-unenviable position after being arrested on drug and weapon charges late last week.
The immediate call from the peanut gallery was resounding in its similarity: “Cut him! Cut him now!”
Thankfully, Idzik stuck to the motto he’s quietly crafted during his first few months on the job. He's exercised patience, and the team released a statement saying they were waiting for the legal process to “run its course.”
To which I say, bravo, John. Bravo.
There are far too many questions in Goodson’s case for the Jets to even consider a snap judgment. Earlier this week, Goodson’s lawyer, Tony Fusco, said his client plans to plead not guilty to every charge. Fusco even said he’s confident they can prove the gun found in the car doesn’t belong to Goodson, which could negate the two most serious charges: unlawful possession of a gun and possession of hollow-point ammunition.
Neither Goodson nor Garant Evans, who was driving the car, claim to own the weapon and the police were still searching gun registries for the owner. The gun could be unregistered. It could be stolen. It could be legal. It could be licensed by either man or another person entirely in a state that’s not New Jersey. But it must be stated right now that no one can say it is Goodson’s gun – at least not yet.
Even if that charge is unwritten or invalidated, Goodson still faces several others, including possession of of marijuana. But, if marijuana is the reason you want Goodson gone, then you’re probably watching the wrong league.
Professional athletes, including NFL players, smoke weed -- not all of them -- but certainly some of them. There are plenty of reasons they do it: be it stress, pain, addiction or pleasure. Am I justifying it? No. But the NFL is far from a substance-free sport. If you’re only interested in a clean game, I suggest you find a little league nearby.
None of this does anything to change the idea that Goodson put himself in an incredibly stupid and dangerous position. He made several mistakes and he might end up in jail because of it, but the legal situation must play out before any decisions are made by the Jets or by the NFL.
Some may point to Idzik’s decision to cut Cliff Harris and Claude Davis the day after they were pulled over and arrested on charges of marijuana possession. Coincidentally, there was a third man in the vehicle who was in possession of handgun, loaded with a single hollow-point bullet – eerily similar to the circumstances surrounding Goodson’s arrest, but not the same.
For one, Harris has an arrest history, having been kicked out of Oregon after racking up 11 traffic citations and being cited for marijuana possession. Goodson has no such history, even if some reporters say they were concerns about his character, when the Jets signed him this spring.
Also, and this is not to be dismissed, but Harris and Davis were fringe roster players likely to get cut at the start of training camp, or at some point during the summer. Assuming he remains on the team, Goodson is going to compete for starting snaps at running back. Scoff at it if you want, but talent rules in the NFL. Teams will often look the other way if the situation can be swept under the rug in order to keep a player they think can help the team win games.
Whether you think that should be the way of the world is another conversation entirely.
The fact is the Jets cannot make a decision based purely on public perception or the demands of a media or fan base still using the word “circus” to depict an organization that’s changed its entire front office, a large percentage of the coaching staff and a good chunk of its work force.
Goodson might get cut after all is said and done. He might end up in jail. He might end up on probation or pay a fine for a marijuana possession charge. We don’t know. The only thing we do know is that Idzik has made it a point to be deliberate, measured and patient and that shouldn’t change because the morality police have decided to picket Florham Park.