Jets met with Wilkerson over his behavior before he signed deal

Muhammad Wilkerson was benched during the first quarter of last week's Jets game for being late to team meetings, but disciplinary issues aren't new for the Pro Bowl defensive lineman.

Before signing his five-year, $86 million deal with the Jets in July, Wilkerson met with Jets coach Todd Bowles to hash out issues related to his past behavior, a source informed of the meeting told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

In the meeting, Wilkerson promised he understood the responsibilities tied to his new contract and vowed to behave. However, as NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported last week, Wilkerson and teammate Sheldon Richardson have been late to team meetings on multiple occasions this season.

Wilkerson met with reporters Wednesday after an embarrassing series of events that saw the quarterback-chaser miss a walkthrough prior to Week 7 along with a planned gathering to celebrate his 27th birthday.

"I spoke to coach and what we spoke about is between me and him," Wilkerson said. "Like I said, I learned from this and I'm not going to be a distraction and I feel like this is a distraction to the team. There won't be a distraction no more, especially coming from me. Like I said, I'm one of the leaders on this team and I have to definitely have to do better and show better."

As Rapoport pointed out, the move to discipline Wilkerson stems from Bowles trying to change an environment that included players going to bars and strip clubs before games and after bed checks prior to the coach's arrival in Florham Park, according to a source informed of the situation.

It remains to be seen if Bowles' renewed efforts with Wilkerson and Richardson will reap rewards for a team struggling to stay afloat in the AFC East.