Abraham caught holy hell from critics that included former New York Giant Harry Carson and ESPN's Mike Golic, who questioned his "integrity."
The reason Abraham didn't play in the Jets' crucial post-season game had never been revealed – until now.
In an exclusive interview with Jets Confidential, Abraham explained that he was advised not to play against the Steelers by Dr. James Andrews, the nationally renowned orthopedic surgeon who performed both of quarterback Chad Pennington's shoulder surgeries.
Prior to the Pittsburgh game, Abraham flew to Birmingham, Alabama for a knee examination and evaluation by Andrews. The defensive end had injured the LCL in his left knee late in the season.
"I went there Monday before the game," Abraham told JC, "because I got tired of hearing everybody saying I should be playing. I was like, ‘what are they talking about?' I was able to jog and run straight, but I couldn't turn. So I went to Dr. Andrews and had him check the leg out, and he checked me and said, ‘I don't think you are ready to go.'
"He told me I was healing good, but he told me it wouldn't be wise at that time to go out there."
Abraham practiced with the Jets as they prepared to play the Steelers and was listed by the team as "probable."
But, as he told the magazine, the practices in which he participated were walkthroughs without pads and contact. Abraham noted that his optimistic game status was a "strategic" move by the Gang Green brain trust.
Abraham's agent advised his client to make a public statement explaining his absence from the playoff game – but he refused to do so because he believed it would take the focus off the Jets' mission at Heinz Field.
"I think it would have been selfish for me to bring up my situation instead of worrying about the team," he said.
The exclusive interview with Abraham is in the First Down column, published in this week's issue of Jets Confidential.