Ellis’ Misbehavior Leaves Questions

For those of you that thought your New York Jets to be the choir boys when compared to their roommates, think again. DE Shaun Ellis is facing several charges, including possession of marijuana, driving without insurance, and speeding after a highway traffic stop, according to reports from the Journal News.

Abbott Koloff reported that the Jets defensive captain was “uncooperative” and refused to give all of the paperwork requested by Sgt. Anthony Vitanza, who stopped Ellis.

Evidently someone forgot to knock on wood earlier this week when reporters asked head coach Eric Mangini and various other players about how fortunate they were to not have to deal with off-field distractions such as the one Plaxico Burres has the Giants tip-toeing around.

Ellis issued a statement, saying he apologized to his family, the fans and the organization. He took full responsibility and accountability for his actions, which is to be expected from a stand-up guy such as Ellis.

“It’s something that I have to deal with,” Ellis said after practice Friday. “I will be responsible.”

Mangini said he spoke with him, and that Ellis was punished internally. Really, coach? How? He practiced Friday prior to leaving for San Francisco and he’s slated to start Sunday against the 49ers. Mangini hoped the media were able to respect the internality of the matter, but I can’t respect something I know so little about. I realize it’s far from public information, but aside from a few thousand dollars, what could the organization have done, made Ellis run sprints? Yeah, real smart at this point of the season.

“We take personal conduct very seriously. We spend a lot of time researching the type of people that we are going to bring into the organization,” Mangini said. “I’ve known Shaun for three years. He’s been voted a captain for three years. He’s been outstanding as a professional and a person over the time that I’ve known him.”

Whatever the internal punishment, it’s something we’ll never know about, but any way you look at it, Ellis is lucky. There are legal issues pending, but he’ll likely walk away with a slap on the wrist at the very worst. It’s gotta be a tight rope to walk for Mangini and the organization being in the hunt for a division title with four games to go.

Let’s face it, take Ellis off the field and the league’s fourth-best defense at stopping the run likely takes a tumble. Ellis has seven sacks through 12 games to go along with his 35 tackles and a forced fumble. At 31 years of age, he’s a veteran leader and has been a Jet for nine years-the longest tenured player in the organization.

The media guide informs me that Ellis has teamed up with The Muscular Dystrophy Association “Muscle Team” the past seven seasons. He’s hosted children afflicted with the illness at Jets’ training camps and games. It says he embodied the NFL’s commitment to community service by supporting programs benefiting the children and youth of New York City.

I mean, he’s a good guy, but he made a mistake. It happens, but what is done about it is what defines who and what people truly are.

“It’s not been easy,” Ellis said. “It’s something I gotta grow from and learn from.”

The Jets are trying to win a division and get homefield in the playoffs, so they punished Ellis “internally.” The law will step in as it sees fit. As for now it’s all on Shaun and how he handles this matter.

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