Sal Alosi, the New York Jets' strength and conditioning coach, was suspended indefinitely by the team Wednesday after he acknowledged that he told five inactive players to stand next to each other for a punt return, during which he tripped a Miami Dolphins player.
“As we continued our investigation, we discovered some new information,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a conference call from the NFL owners meetings in Dallas, “and the players at the Miami game were instructed by Sal to stand where they were to force the gunner in the game to run around them.”
That was information Alosi did not initially volunteer Monday, according to Tannenbaum. The team suspended Alosi for the season without pay and fined him an additional $25,000 after he stuck out a knee and tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll, who was covering the punt in the third quarter of the Dolphins’ 10-6 win Sunday.
“Over the course of the next couple of days, more information came out that really doesn’t sit well with us,” Tannenbaum said.
During a news conference Monday, Alosi fought back tears as he called his actions – tripping Carroll – “inexcusable and irresponsible.” He also said no one was instructed to stay up on the sideline to prevent Dolphins players from running out of bounds on kicks.
However, tight end Jeff Cumberland, who was inactive Sunday, said it was nothing new for the players to line up next to each other as they did against the Dolphins.
“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been instructed to line up behind the (white) line,” he said, adding that it was only Alosi who has told them to do so.
Tannenbaum said he met with Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, on Wednesday morning and the league supported the Jets’ decision. Tannenbaum added that the NFL was also looking into the incident.
New York Giants Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith injured the articular cartilage in his left knee in the win over Minnesota on Monday and will need season-ending knee surgery that requires a very long rehabilitation. The Lions put offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (knee) and cornerback Brandon McDonald (arm) on season-ending injured reserve. The Patriots put cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip) on injured reserve. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick leads overall fan voting for the Jan. 30 Pro Bowl with 981,687 votes, with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in second overall and atop the AFC with 947,194 votes. The Titans put defensive tackle Tony Brown (knee) on injured reserve. Cowboys wide receiver and kick returner Kevin Ogletree landed on injured reserve with a toe injury. Jaguars defensive back Will Middleton was fined $5,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell.