FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets claimed wide receiver-kick returner Lucky Whitehead on Wednesday, two days after the Cowboys cut him following a shoplifting charge in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
A man used Whitehead’s identity to steal $40 worth of food and drink from a Virginia convenience store in June. Dallas released him Monday after reports that Whitehead was arrested and subsequently cited for missing a court hearing.
The Jets, desperate for help at receiver, claimed the three-year veteran and waived receiver Devin Street.
Whitehead appeared in 30 games the past two seasons with the Cowboys. He averaged 25.6 yards on 33 kick returns and 6.9 yards on 44 punt returns, and had nine receptions as a reserve receiver.
When the charges against Whitehead were announced, his agent, Dave Rich, contended that his client wasn’t in Virginia at the time of the reported arrest. Police subsequently said they are seeking the person who used the identity of Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr., the receiver’s given name.
Whitehead could file a grievance with the players’ union about his release.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett said Whitehead’s release was an accumulation of events, although Garrett acknowledged Monday that the decision came after the club did more work gathering information.
During his second season in 2016, Whitehead was left at home for a December game at the New York Giants after missing a Saturday walkthrough. He also was involved in a car accident that Garrett found out about through media reports.