Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Nick Mangold all returned to practice with their New York Jets teammates

Ryan Fitzpatrick remains unsigned but Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Nick Mangold all returned for OTAs

The "protest" is over. Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a free agent hoping that Jets management will offer him more money, but the perceived "protest" of solidarity between Fitzpatrick and a few of his teammates lasted just one week. 

We'll start with the obvious, the obvious from the start obvious. Nick Mangold did not skip OTAs last week because of anything having to do with Fitzpatrick, he skipped OTAs because his wife gave birth. Mangold poked some fun at the ridiculousness of the story last week, but he clearly wasn't pleased to be connected to some sort of protest.

"I figure the smart people will figure it out," Mangold said when asked if he was optimistic about Fitzpatrick returning. "I got other things to worry about right now."

Other than that Mangold was noticeably frustrated with the insinuation that he was making some type of stand against management. Decker and Marshall though, those guys seemed to be having some fun with the media about it. There was some healthy debate between media members about if their vague answers meant it was a protest or not, but mostly it felt like they were just toying with reporters and being purposefully vague.

"That's not the reason why I wasn't here," Decker said. "I told coach where I was, what I was doing. I was with my family, which sometimes can get tough for me because of what my wife does."

Decker flat out said he didn't miss time because of Fitzpatrick and there's no reason to not believe him, but at times he hemmed and hawed as he smiled at reporters like he was deliberately trying to confuse everyone. Marshall did the same thing  and was even more evasive. "What are you a lawyer?" He jokingly asked a reporter when the reporter reworded a question for him.

"There's a thin line between supporting a teammate and being detrimental to the team," Marshall repeated. "At this point, it's time for all of us to move forward and try to figure out how we can win some games."

Marshall, however, did get a excited when one reporter asked him about a statement he made after last season. Marshall had said he wanted to take a little extra time off to decompress this offseason and when the reporter brought it up he made sure to point out that maybe, just maybe, that might have been why he wasn't here last week.

Both players had informed Todd Bowles about their plans, and the real reasons why they elected not to attend the first week of voluntary OTAs and Bowles said it never crossed his mind that they were making some sort of protest,

"The reasons they told me, they had valid reasons." Bowles said when asked why he thought they missed last week. "So they were fine."


Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (

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