Jets rookie Herndon on DUI arrest: ‘This is not who I am’

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Chris Herndon says his arrest last weekend for driving while intoxicated does not reflect the person he is.

The New York Jets rookie tight end declined comment after practice Tuesday on details of the incident in which New Jersey State Police say Herndon crashed into another car on a New Jersey highway early last Saturday morning.

“I can’t really speak much on it now,” the fourth-round draft pick from Miami said. “It’s still a pending legal matter, so it’s not up to me to have a conversation about it right now.”

Herndon was asked if there was anything he wanted Jets fans and others to know.

“This is not who I am,” Herndon said while shaking his head. “But like I said, I can’t really speak much on that.”

According to New Jersey State Police, the 22-year-old Herndon was driving his Nissan Armada westbound in Rockaway Township, about 35 miles west of New York City, when he crashed into a Toyota Land Cruiser that was towing a trailer carrying another vehicle.

When troopers arrived, they arrested Herndon on suspicion of DWI and took him to a nearby state police barracks for an alcohol breath test. The test revealed a blood-alcohol level over New Jersey’s limit of .08, according to State Police Sgt. Lawrence Peele, though he didn’t say what the level was.

Herndon was released pending a court date in Rockaway Township. He also was given a summons for careless driving. Both Herndon and the driver of the Land Cruiser suffered minor injuries.

“I don’t feel too bad (physically) right now,” Herndon said. “I’m just dealing with everything and trying to stay focused.”

This was the latest in a string of off-field issues for the Jets, who had had seven arrests in the last 13 months. Despite that, coach Todd Bowles isn’t concerned that the team might be too lenient with its discipline with players.

“Our disciplinary process is fine,” Bowles said. “There’s nothing wrong with the disciplinary process. The arrests are going to happen, and you deal with them as they come.”

Linebacker Dylan Donahue was arrested in February for DWI after New Jersey police said he crashed into a small bus while driving the wrong way inside the Lincoln Tunnel. Donahue was also arrested for DWI in May 2017 in Montana, and voluntarily checked into a rehabilitation facility in Florida in March.

Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested in June 2017 and charged with misdemeanor assault after being accused of punching a man at a Manhattan nightclub. The case was later dropped.

Cornerback Rashard Robinson was accused in December of possessing marijuana-laced candy in Morris County. He was arrested and charged with drug possession and carelessly driving a 2018 Mercedes Benz.

Wide receiver Robby Anderson arrested in May 2017 at a Miami music festival and charged with felony resisting an officer with violence — but the charge was later dismissed. He also had felony charges against him dropped from an incident in January after he was arrested in Florida for allegedly fleeing from police at 105 mph and then threatening the officer’s family.

“It’s not a Jet problem or a league problem,” Bowles said. “It’s a nationwide problem. We deal with them on a daily basis as they come. … Things happen in your 20s, and you treat them on an individual basis and you move on.”

Bowles said the team regularly addresses the players about off-field issues, and reiterated that he and the Jets handle each as they happen.

“I’m not here to sit here and say I approve of it, because I don’t,” Bowles said. “Is it a problem? Yes. To lay all this on Chris, no, we aren’t going to lay all of it on him. He’s got to take responsibility. We understand that and we deal with it in house, but I’m not going to sit here and be a spokesperson and say it’s OK to drive drunk, because it’s not.”

Bowles would not rule out having a zero-tolerance policy regarding discipline, but nothing was imminent.

“We could have a different policy,” Bowles said. “I’m not going to say never. But things change accordingly. There is nothing wrong with our policy right now. If you sign a contract and you’re making $10, $20, $30 million, if that doesn’t stop you or anything else, what else is going to stop you?”

As for Herndon, Bowles said there was nothing in the team’s research on him before the draft in April to indicate the tight end would have any type of off-field issue.

“He had not had a problem,” the coach said. “He does not have a glitch in his evaluation or anything. There’s nothing to bring up. These things do happen.”

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By: Dennis Waszak, Idaho Statesman

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