Jan 3, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jets hire 49ers DC Robert Saleh as head coach

Robert Saleh, the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator since 2017, agreed in principle to become the head coach of the New York Jets, the team announced Thursday night.

He replaces Adam Gase, who was fired hours after a loss to the New England Patriots in Week 17 that concluded his two seasons in which the team went 9-23, including 2-14 in 2020.

San Francisco fielded a top-10 defense in total yards (fifth), rush yards (seventh) and pass yards (fourth) under Saleh’s leadership last year. In 2019, the 49ers were second overall in the league in total defense (281.8 yards per game) and first in pass defense, as its 169.2 per-game average was the league’s best since the Jets’ allowed an average of 153.7 through the air per game in 2009.

Saleh, 41, interviewed with the Jets twice, with the second one occurring Tuesday and Wednesday. Saleh met with every team that had a head-coach opening except the Houston Texans, according to the New York Post.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with people if they don’t hire him,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said recently of Saleh. “I mean, he’s as good as you can get. … And he’s going to hire the best staff. He knows about players. He knows who knows what they’re talking about … and he also knows how to deal with people. So, I hope everyone’s not very smart and doesn’t hire him so I can keep him. But I’m expecting not to have him.”

The Jets interviewed Saleh and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in person and conducted virtual interviews with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and New Orleans Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn.

Saleh will become the 20th head coach of the Jets, who have the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Jets, who lost a franchise-record 13 consecutive games to open the 2020 season, have gone five years without a winning record. They last made the playoffs in 2010.

The Jets simply weren’t been competitive under Gase, as 15 of the team’s 23 losses under his watch were by double digits. This season, they were outscored by 214 points.

The New York offense ranked last in yards per game in each of the past two seasons. The Jets scored 243 points this season, 37 fewer than the next-worst team, the New York Giants.

Saleh was the linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-16 after serving as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive quality control coach from 2011-13.

Saleh also served as an assistant coach with the Houston Texans from 2005-10 after college stints at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) walks alone on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jets GM Joe Douglas prioritizing coaching hire before QB decision

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said Tuesday the franchise must hire its next head coach before determining the future for quarterback Sam Darnold with the Jets.

The Jets fired coach Adam Gase on Sunday after finishing the 2020 season 2-14.

“Look, we’ve got a lot of decisions to make. I think Sam’s going to be a great quarterback. I’m excited to get a head coach in here, go through our process,” Douglas said . “I had a great conversation with Sam yesterday.

“I won’t go into the specifics, but I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. We’re going to get a head coach in here, we’re going to get together, we’re going to talk about quite a few decisions. I’m excited about Sam.”

Darnold, 23, has been adamant about wanting to remain with the Jets, reiterating this week that he wants “to be a Jet for life.” But obviously his performance has put his ability to carry a franchise in the league’s biggest media market into question.

Picked third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Darnold threw for a career-low 2,208 yards this season in 12 games (all starts). His nine touchdown passes were also the fewest of his three-year career.

When a team finishes the season with the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft, it has a lot more problems other than its quarterback. And Douglas expressed sympathy for Darnold.

“I think Sam faced a lot of obstacles this year, as did everybody, dealing obviously with COVID and frankly, we had quite a few injuries, on the offensive line, at the wide receiver position,” Douglas said. “I think it was hard for our offense in general to really build the kind of sustained chemistry to create success throughout the year.”

Darnold has thrown for 8,097 yards and 45 touchdowns in 38 games (all starts) in his first three NFL seasons. The Jets are 13-35 in that span.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Wexler-USA TODAY Sports

Jets fire head coach Gase

The New York Jets fired head coach Adam Gase hours after a loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday that concluded his two seasons in which the team went 9-23, including 2-14 this year.

“While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization — especially in our leadership positions — it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement.

“We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019. Our strong finish last year was encouraging, but unfortunately, we did not sustain that positive momentum or see the progress we all expected this season.”

The Jets lost a franchise-record 13 straight games to open the season and have gone five years without a winning record. They last made the playoffs in 2010.

“To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are committed to building a strong organization, on and off the field, and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of.”

The Jets simply haven’t been competitive under Gase, as 15 of the Jets’ 23 losses under his watch were by double digits. This season, they were outscored by 214 points.

Gase, whose contract runs through 2022, clashed with coaches and players. He fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after the team allowed a last-second touchdown pass in a Week 13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 6. He also couldn’t manage running back Le’Veon Bell and safety Jamal Adams, who were both waived and were signed quickly by Kansas City and Seattle, respectively.

Gase, who was hailed for being astute offensively, saw the Jets struggle to move the ball, as they ranked last in yards per game in each of the past two seasons.

Quarterback Sam Darnold, drafted third overall in 2018, is last in quarterback rating among qualified passers. The Jets, after Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Patriots, scored 243 points this season, 37 fewer than the next-worst team, the New York Giants.

The Jets had the inside track to earn the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after starting 0-13, but their two victories enabled Jacksonville (1-15) to grab the first pick.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) rushes against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (20) during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Newton’s 3 TD passes rally Patriots past Jets

Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes Sunday and caught a fourth as the New England Patriots rallied in the second half for a season-ending 28-14 win over the visiting New York Jets.

In what is likely his last game of his only season with New England (7-9), Newton enjoyed one of his best performances. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards while adding 79 yards on 11 carries.

But the Patriots will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They officially were eliminated from contention Dec. 20.

Newton snapped a 14-14 tie just 1:04 into the fourth quarter with a 26-yard scoring strike to Devin Asiasi. The score came four plays after J.C. Jackson intercepted Sam Darnold and returned it to the New York 45.

As snow started falling, Newton applied the decisive blow with 11:42 left, flipping a short pass that Sony Michel took 31 yards for a touchdown to made it a two-score game. The Patriots scored more points Sunday than in their previous three games, when they managed 24.

Darnold was effective for the Jets (2-14), hitting 23 of 34 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions. New York saw its two-game winning streak snapped in what is expected to be coach Adam Gase’s last game. Multiple reports have indicated that Gase will be fired.

The Jets took a 14-7 lead just 3:20 into the third quarter when Josh Adams powered over from the 1-yard line to cap a 75-yard drive. But their offense went silent after the score early in the second half.

New England tied the score with 2:22 left in the third quarter with a perfectly executed trick play. Jakobi Meyers pulled up after a reverse handoff to the right and found Newton leaking out of the backfield for a 19-yard touchdown.

New England initiated scoring with 11:23 remaining in the first quarter on Newton’s 7-yard scoring strike to James White. New York equalized just 1:40 before halftime when Darnold and Chris Herndon connected for a 21-yard touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Buffalo Bills in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots in rare position against Jets in final contest

This is new territory for the New England Patriots.

When they finish the season Sunday at home against the New York Jets, it will mark the first time since 2008 that the last game of the regular season won’t be a tune-up for the playoffs.

At 6-9, New England will endure its first losing year since 2000, the first year Bill Belichick coached the team.

“Let’s finish what we started,” said Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater. “We started a race and obviously, we’re not going to win that race, but if we have that ability to do so, let’s finish that race and let’s finish it the right way.

“Let’s go out and represent ourselves in the best way possible, and not just ourselves: all the people that made the season possible for us.”

As recently as Week 14, it appeared there might be a path for New England to play January football. After a 45-0 shellacking of the Los Angeles Chargers, it was 6-6 and appearing to peak when Belichick teams tend to.

But the Patriots’ offense, a source of concern all year, simply petered out in the last three games. New England has scored just one touchdown — Cam Newton’s 9-yard run in the second quarter of Monday night’s 38-9 blowout loss to Buffalo — and 24 points.

That was the lone highlight for Newton, who was pulled in the third quarter after throwing for just 34 yards on 5 of 10 accuracy. Jarrett Stidham took over and wasn’t much better, going 4 of 11 for 44 yards.

Speculation is rife on whether Stidham will start against the Jets, although one might have better luck stopping Michael Jordan in his prime than getting Belichick to reveal the identity of his quarterback in Week 17.

“I think it’s a combination of things that we can all do better,” Belichick said about the offense.

Meanwhile, New York (2-13) may have disappointed those that were hoping for an 0-16 finish, but it’s pleased itself with back-to-back wins over playoff contenders.

After getting the bagel out of its win column with a 23-20 decision at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, the Jets kept Cleveland from clinching last week with a 23-16 verdict in the Meadowlands.

The consecutive victories aren’t likely to keep coach Adam Gase from getting fired after the season ends. And they kept New York from possibly drafting Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence with the top overall pick, but they’ve given rookies like wide receiver Denzel Mims hope for the future.

“I think we just sat down, watched film and saw all the mistakes we were making,” he said. “We saw all the plays we left on the field. We’re just trying to do everything we can to get better.”

In the wins, quarterback Sam Darnold has looked like the guy capable of propelling the Jets to contention. After going 22 of 31 in his return to Los Angeles, the former USC star hit two crucial touchdown passes against Cleveland. And in both games, the mistakes that have consistently derailed this offense didn’t occur.

“Winning cures everything,” Darnold said. “When you win, the guys have more energy throughout the week.”

New York will play without starting running back Frank Gore (chest/lung) and backup La’Mical Perine (COVID-19). Ty Johnson will get most of the carries in New England.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) knocks the arm of New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) while throwing the ball during the half half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jets upset short-handed Browns for second straight win

Jamison Crowder caught a touchdown pass and threw a touchdown pass as the New York Jets pulled another stunning upset, this time 23-16 over the visiting, short-handed Cleveland Browns on Sunday at East Rutherford, N.J.

Crowder, uncovered, hauled in a 30-yard touchdown from Sam Darnold early in the third quarter as the Jets (2-13) took a 20-3 lead. Crowder had seven catches for 92 yards, and added a touchdown pass, while Darnold finished 16-of-32 for 175 yards and two TDs.

The Browns (10-5), who entered with a chance to clinch a playoff berth, played without a half-dozen starters. Starting offensive linemen Jedrick Wills (illness) and Wyatt Teller (ankle), linebackers B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips and the team’s top four wide receivers — Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge — all were unavailable due a combination of injury, positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing.

Frank Gore rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries and became the third player in NFL history to rush for at least 16,000 yards in a career, joining Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. It was the first home win this season for the Jets, who snapped an 0-13 start by beating the Rams last weekend in Los Angeles.

Cleveland entered as the third-best rushing team in the NFL but finished with just 45 yards on the ground. Baker Mayfield connected on 28 of 53 passes for 285 yards but was sacked four times and lost two of his three fumbles. Leading rusher Nick Chubb was held to 28 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

The Browns closed the gap to 20-10 late in the third on Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown plunge. Cleveland drew closer after Kareem Hunt capped a 12-play, 83-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Cody Parkey missed the PAT however, and the Browns trailed 20-16 with 12:38 left.

The Browns had two fourth-quarter possessions with a chance to take the lead. On the first, Tarell Basham sacked Mayfield and forced a fumble that the Jets recovered at the Cleveland 17 with 3:13 to go.

New York’s Sam Ficken hit a 34-yard field goal four plays later with 2:56 remaining.

The Browns’ last possession crested at the Jets’ 16-yard line. Facing fourth-and-short, Mayfield tried to move the chains on a sneak but lost the football on another hit from Basham. Hunt recovered the fumble across the line to gain, but inside of two minutes the ball is placed back at the spot of the fumble, which was short of the line to gain.

Cleveland had just two scoring opportunities in the first half, one of which was Jamie Gillian’s 61-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half that came up well short.

The Jets led 13-3 at the half and dominated the first two quarters. Cleveland managed just 103 yards in the half, didn’t score after Parkey’s 44-yard field goal at the 9:30 mark of the first quarter, and netted just 4 rushing yards on 12 carries.

New York used a trick play to grab the lead as flanker Crowder threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios on a reverse pass for a 7-3 lead with 0:42 left in the first. The Jets cashed in the half’s only turnover, a Mayfield fumble on a sack, when Darnold found Chris Herndon with an 11-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. The PAT was blocked, and New York led 13-3.

With the Indianapolis Colts also losing on Sunday, the Browns still control their own playoff fate. Cleveland will clinch a playoff spot with a win in Week 17 against visiting Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) gestures at the line against the New York Giants during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jets stand between Browns and playoffs

The Cleveland Browns can take a huge step toward ending the NFL’s longest active playoff appearance drought on Sunday with a win against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

Cleveland (10-4) can lock up a playoff spot in the AFC with a win over the Jets, and a loss by any of three other AFC contenders: Baltimore, Miami or Indianapolis.

In addition, Cleveland sits just a game back of the suddenly slumping Steelers (11-3) in the AFC North and will host their biggest rivals in Week 17.

The Browns haven’t been in the playoffs since 2002, and the 10-win season is the team’s first since 2007. But first-year coach Kevin Stefanski said no one in the organization is looking past the Jets (1-13).

“Not for me,” Stefanski quipped when asked if his one-week-at-a-time approach will be tested more than usual this week. “This is the NFL. It’s not hard for me to explain what we’re in for.

“We know what we’re getting into.”

New York shocked the league last week with a 23-20 upset win at the Los Angeles Rams. Sam Darnold was solid, throwing for 207 yards and a touchdown while the Jets enjoyed a rare turnover-free day.

“It’s the greatest feeling in sports,” Darnold said after the Jets’ win.

But the victory came with consequences. The win moved New York out of the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft and, presumably, the right to snag Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Instead, the Jets are currently slotted with the No. 2 pick behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If that wasn’t enough to dull the positive vibes from the team’s first win of 2020, the club added standout defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (neck/concussion) and inside linebacker Harvey Langi (neck) to the Injured/Reserve list this week, effectively ending the season for both.

And Wednesday, the Jets placed tight end Ryan Griffin on the COVID-19/Reserve list.

“We’re running thin, those practice squad guys will get an opportunity this week,” Jets coach Adam Gase said. “We’ve got to put some pieces together.”

It’s not a task Gase and midseason replacement defensive coordinator Frank Bush will relish with a red-hot Cleveland offense coming in. The Browns rank third in the NFL in rushing offense (152.6 yards per game) and Baker Mayfield has stitched together a month of high-level play.

In Cleveland’s last four games, Mayfield is averaging 308 passing yards, with 10 touchdowns and one interception. The Browns have won four of their past five.

“(Mayfield) has been the same guy, every single day,” Stefanski said.

And while the Browns are plotting potential playoff scenarios, the Jets are pondering what could be a turbulent offseason. New York has to make a decision on Darnold, who’s about to enter the fourth year of his rookie contract, and that’s been complicated with losing the rights to draft Lawrence.

Gase, under contract for two more years, is also on the hot seat and may not be around for the next stage of the Jets’ rebuild, yet he claims he’s not feeling any added pressure. Gase said Wednesday he hasn’t had any discussions with CEO Christopher Johnson about his future in New York.

“Nothing I’m really worried about,” Gase said.

The Browns could be without two starters on Sunday as right guard Wyatt Teller (ankle) and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (neck) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Stefanski expected Richardson to be available, however, and the defense did see safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) return to full practice.

Cleveland also designated a return from IR for safety Ronnie Harrison (shoulder), who has been out since Nov. 29.

Besides Williams, Langi, and Griffin, the Jets were missing cornerback Javelin Guidry (knee) from practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) dives to avoid New York Jets cornerback Bryce Hall (37) during the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Darnold, Jets top Rams for first win of 2020

Sam Darnold threw for 207 yards in his homecoming and the New York Jets pulled off their first victory of the season defeating the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 on Sunday at Inglewood, Calif.

The Jets’ defense held the Rams to just three points and 97 total yards in the first half, and 303 yards in the game, to avoid becoming the first team to go winless in a season since the Cleveland Browns in 2017.

The Rams (9-5) were more than two-touchdown favorites and needed a victory to become playoff eligible. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 209 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while rookie Cam Akers overcame a first-half ankle injury to rush for 63 yards on 15 carries.

The Rams were driving for a potential go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter and were forced to go for the first down on fourth-and-4 from the Jets 37-yard line. But Jets safety Marcus Maye knocked down a pass intended for Rams tight end Gerald Everett to give New York the ball.

The Jets (1-13) ran out the clock from there to win a game for the first time since a season-ending victory over the Buffalo Bills in 2019.

The Jets had a 23-10 lead entering the fourth quarter, before the Rams cut the deficit to 23-17 on Goff’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee with 13:47 remining.

The Rams pulled within 23-20 on a 42-yard field goal from Matt Gay with 6:35 remaining. They settled for the field goal after it appeared Akers scored the game-tying touchdown on an 18-yard run, only for it to be called back because of a holding penalty against lineman Austin Corbett.

Darnold, a former first-round draft pick out of Southern California, threw an 18-yard TD pass to Ty Johnson in the first quarter, while Sam Ficken made two second-quarter field goals to give the Jets a 13-0 lead.

The Rams did not score in the first half until Gay made a 45-yard field goal on the final play before halftime.

The Jets made it 20-3 on a 1-yard run by Frank Gore with 8:30 remaining in the third quarter.

Goff also threw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Robert Woods, but Los Angeles’ offense could not overcome a stagnant first half when it had just six first downs and two of those in the final minute before the break.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ascending Rams seek to ground winless Jets

The Los Angeles Rams could receive their Christmas gift a bit early, in the form of a game on Sunday against the winless New York Jets.

The meeting will come at home for Los Angeles, which is deep in a battle for an NFC West title.

The Rams (9-4), who missed the playoffs last year after going to the Super Bowl the year before, are not overlooking the Jets (0-13), who are two-touchdown underdogs.

“The difference between winning teams and losing teams is razor thin,” Rams receiver Cooper Kupp said. “There’s too many great football players and too many great coaches in this league to ever take any team for granted.”

The Rams would prefer to be on solid footing heading into a collision for the division title next weekend at Seattle. The Rams and Seahawks are tied for the top spot in the NFC West, with Los Angeles defeating its rival earlier this season.

The Jets have long been ousted from playoff consideration, but they haven’t been a complete walkover on their road to an 0-13 record. The Las Vegas Raiders needed a touchdown pass with five seconds remaining for a Dec. 6 victory. New York also put together a late rally against the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 22 only to fall short in a 34-28 setback.

That loss against the Chargers came in the same Southern California venue where Sunday’s game will take place. The Rams are 5-1 in their new $5 billion shared stadium, though that one defeat did come to a team with a losing record: the San Francisco 49ers.

Since that Week 12 loss, the Rams have pushed past the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots, with last Thursday’s victory over New England yet another impressive defensive performance.

The Rams head into Week 15 leading the NFL in yards allowed per game (285.8), while they are third in both points allowed (18.9) and total sacks (42).

On offense, quarterback Jared Goff is eighth in yards passing per game (269.9), while running back Cam Akers is coming off a 171-yard performance. Akers is the first Rams rookie to run for more than 160 yards in a game since Jerome Bettis in 1993.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, a Southern California alum, will return home this weekend but a cordial welcome is not expected. The Rams’ defense is also No. 1 against the pass at 191.7 yards per game.

Darnold will enter off a 132-yard, no-touchdown passing performance at Seattle last weekend, against a Seahawks defense that allows an NFL-worst 294.8 yards against the pass. The Jets are second worst at 286.8.

“It’s not just (Darnold), it also has to be the guys around him,” Jets coach Adam Gase said about earning victory No. 1. “Everyone has to do their job, linebackers, running backs, wide receivers. He can make the right decision on reads, but he can’t catch it and make the guys be in the right spots. He’s the easy guy to blame. (You) need 11.”

Jets receiver Jamison Crowder (calf) did not practice Wednesday, while linebacker Jordan Jenkins (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve and is done for the season. Darnold (ankle) was on Wednesday’s injury report but was a full participant in practice.

Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis (knee), who has missed the last three games, was back at practice Wednesday. Receiver Robert Woods (thigh) missed practice but is expected to play Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA;  New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims (11) warms up before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jets WR Mims away from team for personal matter

New York Jets rookie receiver Denzel Mims is not with the team due to a personal matter, coach Adam Gase said Wednesday.

The New York Post reported that Mims returned home to Texas to deal with a family emergency.

His status is uncertain for Sunday’s game in Seattle between the Jets (0-12) and Seahawks (8-4). If Mims does not get tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, he would need to pass a series of tests before reentering team facilities, according to NFL protocols.

“He’s possibly going to be out of the (daily testing) protocol here,” Gase said, per NJ Advance Media. “We’ll see how today goes, but there’s a possibility that could throw him out of the game.”

Drafted in the second round (59th overall) out of Baylor in 2020, the 23-year-old Mims has 19 receptions for 324 yards with no touchdowns in six games this season. He caught two passes for 40 yards and also caught a two-point conversion pass in Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

–Field Level Media