Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus was “the biggest football decision” he’s made since becoming a professional. He hopes to return in 2021 as a better person and leader.
Mosley informed the Jets over the weekend that he would be sitting out this season because of family health concerns. He expounded on that while appearing on a Facebook Live event to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. It was the first public remarks Mosley made since news came out on Saturday that he chose to opt out.
A former Marine sergeant asked Mosley if he has gone through something difficult and how he overcame it. Mosley referenced his decision to miss this season, and that he’s still going through it.
The Jets officially placed Mosley on the Reserve/Opt Out List.
“Two days ago, I chose to opt out of the season,” Mosley said. “That’s probably the biggest football decision I’ve made in a long time, probably since I picked what college I’m going to. That’s a book I got to start writing pretty soon. What’s the next step? Because there’s a lot of negative things people been saying as far as me not playing two years. And there’s a lot of positive things that are being said.
“I’m out all year so I have all this time to mentally get better, to physically get better, kind of readjust and kind of find that flame again.”
Mosley, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker while with Baltimore, signed a five-year, $85 million contract as a free agent with the Jets in 2019. He only played in two games last year because of a groin injury that ultimately needed surgery. Mosley was cleared in June to resume all football activities and seemed eager to get started. But Mosley, who comes from a military family, has a young son and said he didn’t want to take any risks.
“Because of COVID, my family is my support system with my son. I didn’t want to risk that obviously,” Mosley said. “Just looking at the big picture, for me, I want to make sure I’m mentally and physically the best person I can be so I can be that leader I know I can be.
“It’s a full-team sport. Sometimes people got to better on their own. We’re in a different situation and I got to look out for my family. Sometimes you got to make that small sacrifice. That’s something you might not understand right now but when you come out on top everybody’s going to be on your side cheering for you.”
The Jets were excited about getting Mosley back and having him lead their defense. But they have depth at inside linebacker. Avery Williamson – their leading tackler in 2018 – is returning from a torn ACL that kept him out all of last season. Williamson likely will take over the defensive play-calling duties when healthy.
Neville Hewitt, James Burgess and Blake Cashman filled in for Mosley and Williamson last year and were productive. Burgess led the Jets in tackles, and Hewitt was tied for second.
The Jets also signed former Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor this offseason. Onwuasor replaced Mosley in Baltimore last season.
Mosley’s contract will “toll,” which means he still will have four years remaining when he returns next season. It will run through 2024, instead of 2023.
The Jets released wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who was returning from a serious neck injury that put his career in jeopardy. Enunwa was injured in Week 1 last year and was hoping he could continue playing. In May, the Jets placed Enunwa on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. Enunwa also missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a neck injury.
Enunwa was a productive and fearless receiver when healthy. But he had trouble staying on the field and he was not going to be able to play this season. A sixth-round pick in 2014, Enunwa caught 119 passes for 1,617 yards and five touchdowns in 41 games. He signed a four-year, $36 million extension in 2018, but played in just one game after that.
Enunwa was the last Jet remaining from former general manager John Idzik’s 2014 draft class that became known as the “Idzik 12.” Enunwa and Brian Winters, who the Jets cut Sunday, were the only Idzik picks left on the team.
The Jets also waived running back Trenton Cannon, offensive lineman Ben Braden and linebacker Wyatt Ray.