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Jets’ Patterson goes AWOL, hasn’t spoken to team

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NEW YORK (AP) — Dimitri Patterson has gone AWOL from the New York Jets.

The veteran cornerback did not show up for the team’s game against the Giants on Friday night and has had no direct communication with anyone in the organization since.

General manager John Idzik announced Sunday during a conference call that he learned through Patterson’s agent on Saturday that the player was OK physically and it is not believed to be a legal issue. But neither Idzik nor coach Rex Ryan have had messages left for Patterson returned by him directly.

“I’d like to talk to him,” Idzik said, “so we could figure out what’s behind it.”

Agent Drew Rosenhaus had no comment on the situation when contacted by email by The Associated Press.

“This is unusual,” Idzik said. “I’ve experienced some pretty strange events, but I guess each one has its own individual reasons and merits, but not quite like this one.”

Patterson, signed as a free agent in April, was with the team Thursday night at a walkthrough practice at Hofstra University. Idzik said he was also present for meetings, a walkthrough and the pregame meal Friday, but didn’t show for the game at MetLife Stadium that night.

Patterson, who has been dealing with leg ailments all summer, was expected to play against the Giants but it was uncertain how much. Both Idzik and Ryan said they had no indication that Patterson was unhappy, but did say he was frustrated with his injuries – although he was working his way back onto the field.

“There really wasn’t any warning that we had of something like this,” Idzik said. “There was nothing to indicate this kind of behavior.”

Idzik first learned of Patterson’s absence shortly before the game, and said his first order of business was to “ensure his safety and well-being.” Idzik notified Patterson through his agent that his absence was “unexcused” and said it would be handled accordingly.

Idzik added that he would rather not speculate on anything, including possible discipline, until the team has had the chance to speak to Patterson directly.

“Needless to say, this situation was not expected and is highly unusual,” Idzik said. “But we all know our game is a game of adjustments and we’re always prepared to do so and we feel like we’re ready.”

The players had a day off Saturday after the game, but returned to the facility Sunday – and Patterson was expected to join his teammates.

“Really, the first thought that comes to mind is, how can we help our player? What’s going through his mind to take such a drastic step?” Idzik said. “Then, of course, we’ll have contingency plans along the way.”

Patterson’s situation is the latest in what has been a brutal summer for the Jets’ cornerbacks. Top cornerback Dee Milliner is recovering from a high ankle sprain, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready in time for the regular-season opener. Third-round draft pick Dexter McDougle was lost for the season during training camp after tearing a knee ligament. A few other backup cornerbacks have also dealt with injuries throughout the summer.

The team is so thin at the position, safety Antonio Allen has started the past two preseason games at cornerback.

AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL