FLORHAM PARK, NJ (AP) — Disgruntled wide receiver Elijah Moore will sit out Sunday’s New York Jets game against the Denver Broncos after asking to be traded amid frustration over his lack of playing opportunities .
Coach Robert Saleh said Friday “trading him is not an option,” but Moore won’t be with the Denver team as the Jets — 4-2 and their best start since 2015 — seek a fourth consecutive victory.
Moore, a second-round pick from Mississippi who had 43 catches as a rookie last year, will go through workouts with coaches over the next few days and join the team on Monday.
“In my opinion, whether we agree or not, it doesn’t matter, but asking him to play a football match with where he is from a mental point of view would not be fair to him. “said Saleh, who insisted that Moore wasn’t being punished by the team. “It’s strictly my decision.”
On Thursday, Saleh said Moore was excused from training by the team to be with his family to take care of a personal matter. The wide receiver spent the day away from the facility and then asked to be dealt with.
Moore is coming off a promising rookie season in which he caught 43 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games, including six starts. But he has just 16 catches for 203 yards and zero scores in six games — all starts — while working in an offense that has focused more on running the ball in recent weeks.
“For me, knowing the individual and knowing what they want, they want to contribute,” Saleh said. “He’s a competitive kid. He’s a competitive man. He feels like he can do more in attack to help us at every level. And for me, that’s admirable. You want that your guys have that self-confidence where they know they can do more for the offense.
But for a team enjoying success for the first time in several years and preaching a “Positive Vibes Only” mantra, one wonders if Moore’s actions could potentially serve as a distraction.
“Our dressing room is fine, it’s rock solid,” Saleh said. “We all love Elijah. We all understand the business side of it. We all know where his heart is, we all know the character we drafted. Elijah is a great boy. He is. He works his tail, does everything that is asked of him. And whether or not people can go haywire is probably more of a conversation for him.
“But he’s a very high character person and I understand that might sound bad, but that’s part of it and part of what we go through in this business.”
Moore became the second Jets wide receiver to request a trade after 2020 second-rounder Denzel Mims did so during training camp. But as is the case with Moore, the team has no intention of processing him.
And in a twist, with Moore not playing on Sunday, Mims will be active for the first time this season.
“He’s prepared to play and he’s going to seize his opportunity,” Saleh said.
Moore created some social media buzz on Sunday after New York’s 27-10 win at Green Bay when he tweeted quoted a reporter’s post that pointed out he had no official reception target in the game. He actually had one on a deep incompleteness in the second quarter, but it was canceled by a penalty.
“If I say what I really mean…I’ll be the selfish guy…we win,” Moore said in the since-deleted post. “Grateful! Huge blessing! Everything I ever wanted. Butter sweet for me but I’ll be solid. So I’m gonna keep quiet.”
“Just know that I don’t understand either.”
On Monday, Saleh said he spoke to Moore and it appears the issue is largely resolved. But in the first of three Twitter posts on Thursday, Moore said, “Love my teammates!” This was followed by: “When someone tells you how they feel the first time, BELIEVE IT!” The final tweet read, “God, I need direction.”
All tweets have since been deleted. Earlier Thursday, Moore also tweeted, “God doesn’t make mistakes…I trust you through this Allllllll…”
Saleh reiterated Friday that Moore “is not a bad boy,” and the Jets have high hopes for him.
“He’s going to be a great football player in this league for a long time,” the coach said. “And it’s just a matter of being able to stack a few good days.”
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