JACKSONVILLE — After an eight-day standoff with Kelechi Osemele, the New York Jets decided Saturday to release the former Pro Bowl guard, who filed an injury grievance last week against the team.
But the battle isn’t over.
One of Osemele’s agents, Andrew Kessler, said in a statement to ESPN that they will continue with the grievance process in an attempt to have Osemele’s fines rescinded.
The Jets had been fining him for conduct detrimental to the team because he refused to practice and underwent unauthorized shoulder surgery Friday. Osemele was being fined the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. In his case, it was $579,000 per week, the amount of each game check.
According to Kessler, the Jets owe Osemele the balance of his contract under both the standard-injury guarantee provision of the player contract and under termination pay.
Osemele was due to make $5.2 million over the final nine weeks of the season. His base pay for 2019 was to be $9.85 million.
The Jets had no comment on the release. They have yet to comment since the dispute came to light last week, when Osemele revealed he had a torn labrum and needed immediate surgery because he couldn’t play in pain any longer.
The Jets could have placed Osemele on injured reserve, but they opted to cut ties completely. Because of injuries at linebacker, they needed a roster spot. They used it to sign linebacker James Burgess from the practice squad. It would’ve been questionable roster management if they had kept Osemele — an injured player — on the 53-man roster.
Earlier Saturday, the Jets downgraded Osemele to out on the official injury report for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Friday, he was designated as doubtful even after undergoing surgery in Boston, which the Jets deemed an unexcused absence.
Also Saturday, Osemele’s agents told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the surgery went well, but damage to the shoulder was more extensive than anticipated. Osemele’s representatives and the NFL Players Association are now considering specific action against the Jets’ team doctors for violations of state medical board regulations.
Sources said the Jets opposed Osemele’s position because they felt it was a preexisting injury and that he could’ve played through it, waiting until after the season to have surgery.
Osemele, acquired in an offseason trade with the Oakland Raiders, started the first three games, then missed the next three with injuries. The coaches were unhappy with his play and were on the verge of benching him when the injury dispute emerged.
Osemele said he was hurt Aug. 5 during a training camp practice and had been receiving treatment for his shoulder. He said he took painkilling injections before the first three games.
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