LINDEN, N.J. - Standout players should be taken care of by their teams. At least, that's how Muhammad Wilkerson sees it.
Speaking for the first time since late last season, the star defensive end shared his thoughts on his current estrangement from the Jets and his ongoing quest for a long-term deal.
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"I just thought, you work hard on the field, do what you've got to do on and off the field, and that's how you're supposed to get rewarded," Wilkerson said last night during his "Strikes for Scholarships" charity event at Jersey Lanes bowling alley.
Wilkerson has been a no-show at the Jets' facility throughout the offseason because of frustration about his contract situation, going so far as to skip the offseason conditioning program and voluntary organized team activities.
He's scheduled to make $6.999 million in 2015 but he and his agent, Chad Wiestling, have been seeking a long-term deal since last season.
Wilkerson is expected to attend next week's three-day mandatory minicamp, but when asked for a definitive answer, he played coy.
"I guess we'll see," said the native of Linden, New Jersey, a first-round pick in 2011. "That's something my agent and I will discuss this weekend."
Asked if he's upset that the Jets haven't yet signed him long-term, Wilkerson said: "It's a business at the end of the day, and all I can do is keep doing what I'm doing: working out, trying to stay in shape and getting ready for the season."
But he's still holding out hope. "I guess it takes a long time,'' he said. "This is new to me. But hopefully, something will get done soon."
Wilkerson also said he's "not at all" worried about being traded.
"Of course, I'm a New Jersey guy, I would want to be here," he said. "But . . . if I was to get traded, there's nothing I can do about that. It's a business."