It’s hard to find anyone who’s endured a more bizarre and frustrating past week than Lucky Whitehead.
The third-year receiver was the released by the Cowboys on Monday after police issued a warrant for his arrest on a shoplifting charge. But the ordeal ended up being a case of mistaken identity, as the man who committed the crime in Virginia gave Whitehead’s information to authorities.
Despite the error, the Cowboys didn’t reinstate Whitehead. The Jets claimed him off waivers a day later. And on Saturday at the opening day of Gang Green training camp in Florham Park, Whitehead said still hasn’t received an explanation from his former club.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” a somber Whitehead said. “Things happen, and I’m excited to be here and I’m glad they gave me a chance to start over.”
Whitehead said he wasn’t aware of the arrest until he walked off the practice field Monday.
“It was a shock for me,” Whitehead said. “I didn’t expect (it).”
When asked if he still holds any animosity toward the Cowboys, Whitehead laughed before saying, “Nah.”
“I’m going to move on, try to build chemistry with these guys here,” He said. “I’m going to try to make this roster and be a playmaker.”
The Jets brought in Whitehead to compete for the kick and punt returning jobs. Whitehead was deep catching punts in the early stages of Saturday’s session along with Frankie Hammond, Marcus Murphy, Romar Morris and Gabe Marks.
“It’s been crazy,” Whitehead said of his week. “A lot’s been going on, and I’m just happy to get an opportunity to start over and clean my slate.”
Rookie wide receivers ArDarius Stewart (thumb, groin) and Chad Hansen (knee) were both limited to individual drills Saturday.
“We’re just taking it easy on them right now,” Bowles said. “They probably could have practiced, but the trainers are just taking it day by day and we’ll increase the load as it goes on.”
Tackle Ben Ijalana (knee) didn’t participate it team drills, either.
The Jets’ first-team offensive line was LT Kelvin Beachum, LG James Carpenter, C Wesley Matthews, RG Brian Winters, RT Brent Qvale. Bowles said there will competition at both tackle spots.
BACK OF THE MIND
A medical report published earlier this week sent shockwaves through the football world as 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players studied at Boston University showed signs of CTE, the debilitating disease linked to repeated trauma to the head.
Bowles played seven seasons in the NFL, but as of now, the coach isn’t concerned about possible brain issues.
“I don’t want it to be. I hope it isn’t,” Bowles said when asked if CTE is a worry. “I’m healthy in my head, I think. …I hope it doesn’t become a problem.”
The Jets moved their only Lombardi Trophy closer to the locker room so players could see it every day when they enter the facility in Florham Park. According to Leonard Williams, the idea to move the trophy came from defensive lineman Steve McLendon.
“The players have a goal for what we’re shooting for every day when they walk in the building,” Bowles said.
Collete Smith, the Jets’ first female coach, made her debut on the practice field Saturday in Florham Park. The Daily News first reported her hiring two months ago. She will serve as a training camp intern.
“Just talking to her over the course of time, her football knowledge was outstanding,” Bowles said. “And it’s all male interns so far, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring in a female intern and strictly off of her skillset, not because she’s a female or anything else. She’s a hell of a football coach.”
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