Jets' Aboushi suspended 1 game without pay by NFL
NEW YORK (AP) New York Jets offensive lineman Oday Aboushi was suspended one game without pay by the NFL on Thursday for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Aboushi, entering his third NFL season, will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Sept. 14, a day after the team's regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns. He can participate in all preseason practices and games.
''I apologize for my actions and understand the repercussions,'' Aboushi said in a statement issued by the team. ''This is something I've learned from and I'm focused on moving forward.''
Jonathan Perzley, Aboushi's agent, said in a statement released shortly after the suspension was announced that the offensive lineman was pulled over by police during a traffic stop in Morris Plains, New Jersey, on Jan. 10.
''During the stop, police recovered a very small amount of marijuana from his vehicle,'' the statement said. ''Oday accepted responsibility for the traffic infraction and all other charges were dismissed.''
It is the latest incident in what has been a tumultuous summer for the Jets and first-year coach Todd Bowles.
Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy on July 2, and was charged with resisting arrest 12 days later after a high-speed race in Missouri. Quarterback Geno Smith is sidelined six to 10 weeks after then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali broke his jaw with a punch in the locker room last week.
Now, the Jets are dealing with another drug-related suspension. The team was off from practice Thursday as they prepare to face the Atlanta Falcons in a preseason game Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
''News like this is never welcome,'' Bowles said in a statement. ''We will support Oday as we continue with our preparations for the upcoming season.''
After doing a solid job while starting 10 games at left guard last season, the 24-year-old Aboushi is in the middle of a crowded depth chart and competing for a roster spot.
He was drafted as an offensive tackle in the fifth round out of Virginia in 2013, but the Jets moved him to guard last summer and he made a mostly smooth transition.
Aboushi was active for every game during his rookie season, but didn't play. When a struggling Brian Winters was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament last October, Aboushi took over at left guard.
He had his ups and downs, but the analytical website Pro Football Focus ranked Aboushi as the best left guard in the AFC East.
That was under a different regime, though, as Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan took over in January. The Jets sought to upgrade the position this offseason by signing former Seahawks first-rounder James Carpenter to be the starter - and pushing Aboushi into a backup role.
''Last year's out the window,'' Aboushi told The Associated Press a few days before the suspension. ''It's kind of just starting fresh and kind of just working your way up the pole again.''
Aboushi has spent most of the summer working with the third-team offense, behind Carpenter and Dakota Dozier, a fourth-rounder last year. He's still listed at No. 3 on the team's unofficial depth chart, although he ran a bit with the second-team offense during the week leading up to Friday night's preseason game.
He also has briefly worked at right guard, taking part in a competition that now appears to have been won by incumbent Willie Colon.
''I think it helps that maybe I can kick out to left or right tackle and maybe play guard, either way,'' Aboushi said. ''I've always been told that versatility is always better.''
So, Aboushi is now in a deep mix of players competing for backup roles along the line, a group that includes Winters, Dozier, fifth-rounder Jarvis Harrison, Dalton Freeman, Brent Qvale, James Brewer, Ben Ijalana, Wesley Johnson and Charles Brown.
''I haven't been told anything,'' Aboushi said. ''I'm playing with the reps I'm given and I'm just trying to make the best of them.''
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