New York Jets: Erin Henderson threatens lawsuit for wrongful termination

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 19: Linebacker Erin Henderson (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 19: Linebacker Erin Henderson (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) /

A former member of the New York Jets is threatening a lawsuit against the team for wrongful termination.

Football teams have decisions on players all the time. Players are released, signed, maneuvered, etc. It doesn’t often become a legal issue. For the New York Jets, a decision made regarding a linebacker may come back to haunt them. That is, unless they can come to an out of court settlement on the matter.

Remember Erin Henderson? He signed with the Jets in 2015 after being out of the league in 2014. Henderson played in 2015, didn’t see the field very long in 2016 and the team declined his option back in February and he became a free agent. Well Henderson and his lawyer don’t like the circumstances regarding his termination, and according to ESPN and the NY Post, if the sides can’t come to an agreement by Friday they are going to sue to Jets for wrongful termination. He would be seeking $3.3 million, stemming from his 2016 salary and non-guaranteed 2017 salary.

Henderson served as a backup for all 16 games of the 2015 season and he posted 36 total tackles, nine assists, a pass defended and a forced fumble (per In 2016, he started four out of five games, posting 12 total tackles and nine assists before moving to the non-football injury list for the remainder of the season.

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According to the reports, the crux of the argument is putting him on the NFI list and withholding his salary. The team is permitted to do so, but the lawyer believes that the Jets broke New Jersey law by not telling Henderson why. This combined with rumors of an alcohol relapse kept other teams away in 2017, obviously causing financial damage:

"“Our argument is they did everything wrong, so they either destroyed a career by remaining silent or they wrongfully terminated him,” Lavigne (Henderson’s lawyer) said."

Here is the lawyer’s take on why Henderson ended up on the NFI list (via the Post):

"Lavigne said the Jets placed Henderson on the injury list 10 days after he overslept and arrived late for a meeting. When Henderson explained why he was late to a Jets official — the side effects from a medication the team had prescribed him for a bipolar disorder caused him to oversleep — the team responded by removing him from the active roster and cutting off his medication, argued Henderson’s agent, Jim Chapman."

This could be a lot of nothing or it could be a lot of something. Anything is possible. It’s hard to put anything past this group of owners. If they want to blackball a player they could do it. Clearly there has been no interest in Henderson. Is that because of the Jets or because Henderson doesn’t have any ability left?

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As far as the issue with the medication, there is certainly more to the story there. The Jets declined to comment so we are only hearing one side of the story. We don’t know what kind of attitude he might have given the team when confronted with the lateness. Whether his bi-polar disorder effects his ability to play will come down to a “he said, she said” type of argument if it goes to court. Anything can happen.

I’m not assessing blame. If the team mishandled this player, with how he was released, treated with his disorder or anything else they deserve what they get. The Jets may very well be guilty here. Or Erin Henderson could be exaggerating the facts. Let’s see more of the story come out, as I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of this one.