Jets' Wilkerson uncertain whether he'll attend minicamp
LINDEN, N.J. (AP) Big Mo could be a no-show at New York Jets minicamp.
Star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has stayed away from the team during voluntary workouts while looking for a new contract, and is uncertain if he'll attend the Jets' three mandatory practices next week.
''I guess we'll see,'' Wilkerson said Friday night. ''That's something my agent and I will discuss this weekend. That decision will be made sometime this weekend.''
Wilkerson spoke to the media for the first time since the end of last season at his charity bowling event at Jersey Lanes. He is also running a youth football camp on Saturday in Linden, and at some point during the next few days, he and agent Chad Wiestling will sit down and decide whether Wilkerson will report to the team's facility with the rest of his teammates on Tuesday.
If he skips all three days, he could be fined more than $72,000, according to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
''Again, it's a business,'' Wilkerson said, ''and I've got to go about things how I feel is the right way.''
Wilkerson is entering the final year of his rookie deal after the team exercised its fifth-year option. He is due to make $6.9 million this season, but is seeking a long-term deal with the team that drafted him in the first round out of Temple in 2011.
General manager Mike Maccagnan has said a few times during the offseason that he'd like the Jets to be able to sign Wilkerson to a deal, but it has to make sense for both sides.
''I guess it takes a long time,'' Wilkerson said. ''It's new to me. Hopefully something will get done.''
After New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan got a new contract last week that included $34 million in guarantees, Wilkerson raised some eyebrows by writing on Twitter: ''Yup. I see how this works.''
Wilkerson declined to say why he has opted to not show up for organized team activities, which are voluntary workouts that most players attend. He has been working out on his own in several places, including in Atlanta with personal trainer Chip Smith.
''I'm good, been staying in shape, working out, doing what I'm supposed to do,'' Wilkerson said, adding that the toe injury that hampered him late last season is healed.
Wilkerson has been keeping up on new coach Todd Bowles' defense by talking with several of his teammates, as well as reviewing the playbook loaded on his iPad. While he has stayed away from the facility, he has maintained communication with his teammates - a handful of whom were at his Strikes For Scholarships event, including linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis, defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Leger Douzable. and safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.
Wilkerson was born in nearby Elizabeth and went to Linden High School, but is not concerned about the possibility that he could be traded and forced to leave his hometown if contract talks turn sour. Those rumors intensified after the Jets drafted Southern California defensive end Leonard Williams with the No. 6 overall pick, but Wilkerson didn't think it affected his situation.
''I welcomed him to the team through Instagram,'' Wilkerson said. ''He was the best available pick. I'm looking forward to working with him and playing with him in the trenches.''
While he doesn't consider this an eye-opening experience, Wilkerson does expect good things to happen to good players who are also good people.
''You work hard on the field, do what you've got to do on and off the field,'' Wilkerson said, ''and that's how you're supposed to be rewarded.''
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