Jets waive absent Mike Goodson

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and several players expressed deep concern Wednesday for the welfare of troubled running back Mike Goodson, who was released earlier in the day after failing to report to a mandatory minicamp.

The team has lost contact with Goodson, who is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted of a year-old gun-possession charge. Ryan said he hasn't seen or talked to Goodson in two or three months.

Some of his former teammates are alarmed that he hasn't responded to any calls or text messages.

"That's the scariest part," guard Willie Colon said. "Usually, a guy will send you a text and say, 'I'm OK.' Not to hear anything is scary in itself. All you can do is send out prayers to him."

Goodson has dealt with off-the-field issues -- he served a four-game suspension last season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy -- and the fear in the locker room is that his problems have resurfaced.

"The concern is what kind of state he might be in, where he might be and things he might be doing," wide receiver David Nelson said. "Guys are trying to check in on him, making sure that stuff isn't reoccurring and taking over."

Responding late Wednesday night via e-mail, Goodson's agent, Kennard McGuire, declined to comment on his client's release. In a statement released Tuesday, when Goodson failed to report to minicamp, McGuire said, "Mike must be accountable and responsible for his own actions and comprehend not only effective communication but simple communication."

Goodson has a court date scheduled next Thursday in Morristown, N.J.

Ryan said he last saw Goodson at the start of the offseason program, when he showed up to rehab his surgically repaired knee. Several players said they haven't seen him since the end of last season.

"There's no question, it concerns me," Ryan said. "I've tried to reach out to him but haven't been able to make contact with him."

The Jets expected big things out of Goodson, whom they signed last year to a three-year, $6.9 million contract. He was arrested two months later, starting a downward spiral. Several players said their concern for Goodson transcends football.

"For somebody who has just gone MIA -- nobody can get a hold of him and nobody knows where he is -- that takes it to a different level and it goes beyond football," Nelson said. "Guys aren't reaching out to him because of football. They're reaching out to him because they care about him. They want to know if he's OK.

"That's the element everybody is talking about. At this point, nobody is talking about, 'Why isn't he here practicing?' I think the fear is that we haven't heard from him. That's not a good sign, honestly."

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said Goodson is "being real private about the situation." Asked if it's a sad situation, Richardson said, "I don't think it's sad. It's just a guy who needs help."

Goodson also failed to attend the voluntary portion of the offseason. The Jets released him with a "left squad" designation, a technicality that may allow them to avoid paying an injury settlement. Goodson is eight months removed from major knee surgery.

"This has kind of been building," general manager John Idzik said. "It was an accumulation of things. These aren't knee-jerk decisions you make. You think them through thoroughly. In Mike's case, we gave him what we felt was a very good ground to become a Jet and become productive. In the end, it didn't work out."

Goodson's downturn began in May 2013. He and an acquaintance were found by New Jersey Police at 3 a.m. on a major highway, their vehicle stopped in a middle lane. Police say Goodson was incoherent and had vomited on himself. He was allegedly in possession of a semiautomatic weapon, a hollow-point bullet and marijuana.

He was indicted in November on the gun charge. After the four-game suspension, Goodson returned to the team, played two games and blew out his knee. He could be suspended again if he's found to be in violation of the personal-conduct policy.

Despite the pending charges, Idzik said as recently as April 30 that he expected Goodson to be on the roster. The organization lost patience; the minicamp no-show was the breaking point.

"This league is all based on showing up on time," owner Woody Johnson said. "One minute later, you're late. You have to respect that. ... [Goodson is] a talented player, but you're no good to the team if you're not here."

On Tuesday, Ryan was clearly miffed by Goodson's absence, saying he hadn't spoken to him. Ryan said "the situation will be dealt with." And it was.

Idzik declined to say whether the Jets will attempt to recoup a portion of Goodson's signing bonus ($1 million) or whether he's concerned about Goodson filing an injury grievance. Idzik wouldn't say whether he has been in touch with Goodson, who subjected himself to $69,000 in fines by skipping a mandatory team event.

"Suffice it to say we gave Mike ample opportunities," Idzik said.

This was an embarrassing chapter for the Jets, who signed Goodson despite various red flags. He encountered legal issues in his previous NFL stops with the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders. He was sued for paternity and child support by three women from August 2010 to May 2011. He has fathered at least six children with those women, one of whom he lived with for two years, records show.

In addition, Goodson didn't pay a $56,465 bill at a Houston-area jewelry store. The store sued him, and after interest and fees, he ended up paying $84,423.44. The amount was garnished from his Raiders paychecks, according to records in Texas and California.

"We're in the human business," Idzik said. "We certainly do our due diligence ... but you're really not going to know for sure until you get that individual in your organization."