New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon, a key player on offense, was suspended four games Friday for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a June 2018 drunken-driving arrest in New Jersey.
Herndon is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, Oct. 7, following the team’s Oct. 6 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
He pleaded guilty in January to driving while intoxicated, all but ensuring a suspension. According to the league’s alcohol policy, a first-time offender gets a minimum two-game suspension but can receive additional discipline if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell determines there were aggravating circumstances, including extreme intoxication, property damage or serious injury to the player or another party.
Herndon was involved in a two-car crash about 20 minutes from the Jets’ facility. His blood-alcohol content was 0.14%, according to police records, a fraction below the NFL’s 0.15% standard for “extreme” intoxication. But there was property damage.
According to the police report, Herndon crashed into a Toyota Land Cruiser and totaled the vehicle, which was transporting a vintage automobile. The other driver, 76, suffered a bruised and gashed arm, according to police. One eyewitness told police that Herndon was driving in excess of 100 mph.
Herndon’s SUV, a Nissan Armada, flipped over and slid about 700 feet on Interstate 80 in northern New Jersey.
A fourth-round pick from Miami, Herndon enjoyed a strong rookie season with the Jets, finishing with 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Coach Adam Gase called him a “unicorn” type of player because of his intriguing skill set.
After he pleaded guilty, Herndon’s driver’s license was suspended for 90 days. He also was required to complete a 12-hour, state-mandated program for DWI offenders.
Herndon is the Jets’ best pass-catching tight end. Without him, their top three tights are veterans Eric Tomlinson and Daniel Brown and rookie Trevon Wesco, all of whom are known for their blocking, not receiving.