Abraham says 'it wouldn't be right' to play

Updated: October 9, 2003, 11:48 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The New York Jets top pass rusher practiced for the first time on Wednesday since his arrest for driving while impaired a week ago, but that does not mean John Abraham will take the field on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, reports indicated.

Abraham's official status for Sunday's game has not been announced by Jets' coach Herman Edwards, but the defensive lineman seems resigned to a one-game punishment after pleading guilty Tuesday for his recent drinking-and-driving arrest, the New York Daily News reported on Thursday.

"It wouldn't be right if I were to come back, go right back to the team and be starting and doing everything like that," Abraham told the paper during his first meeting with the media for the first time since his one-car crash last Wednesday. "Obviously, something is coming. I'm just waiting for it to come. I'm not going to be a baby about it and cry. I'm going to take it on the chin and move on after this week."

Abraham will practice with the team the rest of the week, but when Edwards was asked if the lineman would play, Edwards answered with an emphatic, "No comment," the paper reported. Edwards has said no announcement will be made until Sunday.

The Jets cannot suspend or fine players for a drug or alcohol violation, as those disciplinary actions are limited to the jurisdiction of the league, but the Jets could deactivate Abraham on Sunday to get around that distinction, according to the paper.

In that most likely case, Abraham would still get his weekly game check for $95,000, and Bryan Thomas, the No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft, would replace Abraham as the starting right end, the Daily News reported.

"I'd be fine with it," Abraham said to the paper when asked about the prospect of not playing. "I did make a mistake, and with mistakes you have to take the consequences. If the consequences are me not playing this week, those are the consequences I'll have to take."

Abraham was arrested on Oct. 1 after driving his 2003 Hummer SUV into a fire hydrant and light pole. Abrahams and two passengers were not injured.

He originally was charged with driving while intoxicated after police measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit, and could have faced up to one year in jail.

But Abraham pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge of driving while impaired, avoiding jail time. Under a deal with prosecutors, Abraham's driver's license was suspended for 90 days and he was fined $330.

The low point, he told the paper, was "sitting in lock-up and thinking, 'It can't get any worse than this.' "

On Monday, Abraham realized it could've been a lot worse, the paper reported.

While Abraham waited at the airport to return to New York after being sent home to South Carolina, he saw the story of Dan Snyder, the Atlanta Thrashers center who died Sunday night from injuries sustained in a one-car accident with teammate Dany Heatley.

"I was very fortunate," Abraham told the paper. "I wasn't hurt; no one was hurt. Sure, the Hummer was hurt, and the light pole, but they can be repaired. Somebody's life can't."

Abraham will probably be fined $20,000 by the NFL. He told the paper he apologized to his teammates individually this past week.

Abraham was a first-round draft pick in 2000 -- one of a record four the Jets had that year -- and has been the team's most consistent defender the last two years, when he made the Pro Bowl.

In 2001, he had 13 sacks among his 82 tackles and the Jets made the playoffs. Last season, he had 10 sacks, again in 82 tackles, and the team won the AFC East.

This season, he has 2 sacks.

If Abraham does not play, it would be the first big opportunity of Thomas' career, the Daily News reported. Thomas was passed over two weeks ago for the start when Abraham was sidelined with a pulled hamstring. Tackle Chester McGlockton got the call against the Cowboys, the paper said.

Thomas is developing slower than expected, but told the paper he could be a playmaker if given more playing time.

"(The fans) could see what the Jets drafted me for, to get to the quarterback," he said to the paper. "That would put a big ol' smile on my face."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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