Update: 4:35 p.m.
Head coach Todd Bowles called Darron Lee a “coaches’ decision” and said the decision was based on team rules. Bowles said the same thing for Muhammad Wilkerson, who sat out the vast majority of the first quarter.
After the game, Lee said he violated team rules, and that was why he didn’t play.
When the New York Jets announced their inactives for their Week 13 meeting with Kansas City, there was one name on the list that stood out: Darron Lee.
The second-year linebacker and full-time starter is inactive for the game against the Chiefs, although he practiced fully this entire week and was not on New York’s injury report. It’s worth wondering if Lee’s benching is a disciplinary issue, and head coach Todd Bowles will certainly be asked about it after the game.
The news is even more frustrating given Lee’s recent improvement. Pro Football Focus analyst John Gatta wrote that Lee was the ninth-ranked linebacker over the past six weeks, a stark improvement from his ranking to begin the season.
In the Jets’ last six games, Lee has 41 combined tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defended.
Exactly one month ago, Bowles praised the development and growth of the former Ohio State Buckeye.
“It’s a credit to him working hard,” Bowles said. “He had two blunders early in the season, but he wasn’t playing bad. He studies hard, he’s determined to be a good player and he puts in the work. He puts in a lot of work. I’m proud of the way he’s playing.”
Julian Stanford started in place of Lee.
Update: 1:51 p.m.
Lee was not the only Jet that was held out of game action. Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson sat out the team’s first four defensive drives, before he finally stepped on the field for the final play of the first quarter.
Bowles will also be asked about Wilkerson, who had a one quarter, in-game suspension for skipping a team meeting in 2016.