Coach Todd Bowles: Recent spate of arrests not a teamwide issue

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Despite six player arrests in the past 13 months, including tight end Chris Herndon's DWI charge this past weekend, New York Jets coach Todd Bowles insisted Tuesday that the team doesn't have a problem with controlling its players.

"Our disciplinary process is fine," Bowles said. "There's nothing wrong with our disciplinary process. The arrests are going to happen. We deal with them as they come."

Herndon was the second player to be arrested on charges of drunken driving. Linebacker Dylan Donahue has two drunken-driving cases pending, including a February incident in which he was accused of driving the wrong way through the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey.

All three arrests involved crashes with other motorists.

"You can discipline them, you can suspend them," Bowles said. "If a person is going to drink -- I've realized that in life -- they're going to drink. You try to discipline them, and you go accordingly."

Herndon, a fourth-round draft pick, was placed in handcuffs after crashing into another vehicle at 4:45 a.m. Saturday on Route 80 in Rockaway, New Jersey, about 20 minutes from the Jets' facility. A Breathalyzer test indicated his alcohol level exceeded the legal limit of .08 percent, state police said.

"That's not who I am," Herndon said, declining to elaborate on any aspect of the incident.

Bowles said the organization vetted Herndon before the draft, as it does with all prospects, saying the former University of Miami player had no red flags in his background.

A year ago, Donahue was charged with his first DUI about a week after he was selected in the fifth round, but the Jets didn't learn of it until it was reported by ESPN in March.

"It's going to pop up," Bowles said. "It's not a Jet problem or a league problem. It's a nationwide problem. We're against them. Things happen in your 20s, and you treat them on an individual basis. DUI is a problem nationwide. It's not a football problem. That doesn't make it OK.

"I'm not here to sit here and say I approve of it, because I don't. Is it a problem? Yes. To lay all this on Chris, no, we're not going to lay all of it on him. He's got to take responsibility. We understand that."

The other players arrested were wide receiver Robby Anderson (twice) and cornerback Rashard Robinson. Most of Anderson's charges were dropped, but he still faces a reckless driving misdemeanor in South Florida. Robinson faces a marijuana-possession charge from December.

The four players arrested remain on the roster but are still subject to league discipline.

Bowles said he frequently addresses the issues with his players, warning them of potential pitfalls. The organizational policy is to wait for adjudication by the legal system and the league before applying its own discipline.

"There's nothing wrong with our policy right now," he said. "If you sign a contract and everything else, and you're making 10, 20, 30 million [dollars], if that doesn't stop you, what else is going to stop you?"