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Dimitri Patterson returns to Jets after going AWOL

Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson during NFL football training

Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson during NFL football training camp in Cortland, N.Y., Friday, July 25, 2014. Credit: Hans Pennink

Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson went AWOL, according to general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan.

The announcement was made Sunday afternoon by Idzik, who delayed the start of Ryan's conference call to inform reporters that Patterson did not show up for Friday night's preseason game against the Giants and hadn't been seen or heard from directly until he met with Idzik and Ryan last night.

Idzik and other staff members tried "in vain" to reach Patterson on Friday, but to no avail. The Jets GM, who has been in "constant communication" with Patterson's agent Drew Rosenhaus, said he was told Patterson is "OK, physically" and that "he was not harmed in any way."

Saturday was an off day for players, but Patterson was a no-show at their Florham Park, New Jersey, facility Sunday morning.

Idzik said, to his knowledge, Patterson isn't involved in any legal issues. And once the team learned that the 31-year-old cornerback was OK, Idzik made it clear that "his absence was unexcused and will be handled accordingly."

Idzik said it was "baffling" that Patterson would disappear without warning because he's "been very engaged. He's been helpful as a vet. There really wasn't any warning. There was nothing to indicate this kind of behavior."

The 10-year veteran signed as a free agent with the Jets this offseason and was expected to be the replacement for Antonio Cromartie, who signed with Arizona. But Patterson has been slowed by quadriceps, calf and foot injuries and has been limited in practice since playing in their preseason opener against the Colts.

Patterson attended the Jets' walk-through practice and "Family Night" Thursday at Hofstra. He was also at the Friday meetings, walk-through and the pregame at their practice facility. But he was a no-show that night for the Giants game at MetLife Stadium.

The cornerback was announced as a late scratch before the game, and when asked about Patterson in his postgame news conference, Ryan said: "He's been nursing a bunch of injuries and things like that. Obviously, he did not play today. We'll see if he can play Thursday against Philly."

The Jets' secondary was the biggest question mark on the roster long before Dee Milliner suffered a high ankle sprain and third-rounder Dexter McDougle tore his ACL on the same day in practice.

But because of injuries, the Jets chose to start third-year safety Antonio Allen at cornerback the past two preseason games.

And with the season opener less than two weeks away, the Jets still have questions about the unit -- and now Patterson.

Said Idzik: "I'd like to talk to him so we could figure out what's behind it."

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