Jets’ LB Lee sus­pended for sub­stance abuse

Will miss Bills game and rest of sea­son

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - NEWS WIRE SER­VICES

Line­backer Dar­ron Lee of the New York Jets will miss the rest of the reg­u­lar sea­son af­ter be­ing sus­pended by the NFL on Fri­day for vi­o­lat­ing the league’s Pol­icy and Pro­gram for Sub­stances of Abuse.

The 6-1, 232-pound Lee, se­lected by the Jets with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, is set to en­ter the fi­nal year of his four-year, $10.2 mil­lion rookie con­tract in 2019. The sus­pen­sion will cost him about $344,750.

Whether the Jets will pick up the fifth-year op­tion on his rookie con­tract by the May dead­line has been a ques­tion be­cause he was some­thing of a dis­ap­point­ment in his first two sea­sons in New York.

How­ever, Lee has played bet­ter this sea­son with 74 tack­les, in­clud­ing five for losses, five passes de­fensed, and the first three in­ter­cep­tions of his ca­reer, in­clud­ing a pick-6 in the sea­son opener that helped the Jets beat the Detroit Lions.

The 24-year-old Lee, who also has as­sumed done some of the Jets’ on­field play call­ing, will be el­i­gi­ble to re­turn to the ac­tive roster the day af­ter New York’s sea­son fi­nale against the New Eng­land Patriots on Dec. 30.

Mean­while, New York Jets rookie quar­ter­back Sam Darnold par­tic­i­pated fully in prac­tice for the third straight day on Fri­day, but head coach Todd Bowles would not say if he will re­turn to the start­ing lineup on the road against the Buf­falo Bills on Sun­day. Darnold re­turned to prac­tice a week ago be­fore miss­ing his third game be­cause of a right foot in­jury and worked with the first team this week. Bowles didn’t say if Darnold of Josh McCown, who re­placed Darnold, would start against the Bills.

Ravens’ Flacco prac­tices

Quar­ter­back Joe Flacco of the Bal­ti­more Ravens was a full par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice on Fri­day, but still might not be back on the field on Sun­day against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Flacco, who has missed the last three games be­cause of a right hip in­jury, of­fi­cially is listed at ques­tion­able, and if he does suit up he prob­a­bly will be the backup to rookie La­mar Jack­son.

Jack­son, the 2016 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner from Louisville who was the 32nd pick in the first round of this year’s draft by Bal­ti­more, has led the Ravens (7-5) to three straight vic­to­ries with Flacco on the side­lines.

“Yeah, there’s a sce­nario for that, sure,” Ravens head coach John Har­baugh said when asked if Flacco might suit up and play be­hind Jack­son.

Around the league

• The Carolina Pan­thers signed kicker Chan­dler Catan­zaro, who was brought in one day af­ter Pan­thers kicker Gra­ham Gano was lim­ited in Thurs­day’s prac­tice due to a left knee in­jury.

• The Ten­nessee Ti­tans’ lop­sided vic­tory over the Jack­sonville Jaguars came at a cost. Tight end Jonnu Smith suf­fered a knee in­jury in the first half of Thurs­day’s 30-9 romp and will miss the rest of the sea­son, ESPN re­ported.

Getty Im­ages

The Jets’ Dar­ron Lee vi­o­lated the NFL’s sub­stance abuse pol­icy.

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