The bizarre case of third-year wide receiver/kick returner Lucky Whitehead took yet another turn on Wednesday, leading him to, of all places, the Jets.
A day after the Cowboys released Whitehead because the team had mistakenly believed he had been arrested last month for shoplifting in Virginia, the Jets claimed the 25-year-old as they prepared to open training camp on Friday.
The Cowboys released Whitehead and cited a pattern of questionable behavior, but it was quickly discovered that his reported arrest was a case of mistaken identity. The Prince William County (Virginia) Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that a man arrested for shoplifting on June 22 gave his name as Lucky Whitehead. Despite telling the team he was not in Virginia at the time of the arrest, the Cowboys released him anyway and placed him on waivers.
“Let’s not sugarcoat anything. I was pretty much being called a liar,” Whitehead told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, adding that he was “blindsided” by the decision to be released.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett defended the move to release Whitehead, saying the move was “in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We’re going to stand by that decision and move forward.”
Last week, Whitehead announced on social media that his pit bull named Blitz had been kidnapped from his home in Dallas, and that a $20,000 ransom was being demanded. A Fort Worth, Texas, rapper named Boogotti Kasino posted videos on social media with the dog, and said the dog wasn’t stolen, but given to him by an ex-girlfriend of Whitehead. Last Tuesday morning, Kasino returned the dog.
Whitehead joins a Jets team looking for depth in the return game, although he will also be used occasionally at wide receiver. In two seasons with the Cowboys, Whitehead returned 44 punts for a 6.9-yard average and 33 kickoffs for a 25.6-yard average.
He was left behind by the Cowboys for a December game last season against the Giants after missing a team meeting.