Sheldon Richardson gets huge break

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

For the New York Jets, defensive end Sheldon Richardson will be suspended for only one game, Week 1 next season for violating the personal-conduct policy. It’s a huge break for both sides.

It’s no secret that one of the top defensive ends of the New York Jets has a history with misbehaving. In July of 2015, defensive end Sheldon Richardson was suspended for four games to start the 2015-16 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse for marijuana use. No sooner did that hammer drop, was it reported that he was arrested in Missouri for drag racing and resisting arrest, going 143MPH with supposedly a loaded gun and young child in the car. He had originally pleaded not guilty, and a court date was set for the fall, but continuously pushed back as the season played out.

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Fast forward to January of 2016, and Richardson wound up pleading guilty to avoid jail time and instead became subject to a suspension under the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. This was a huge break not only for the Jets, but for Richardson himself, a 25-year-old with too much on-field talent to let slip away. The wait was on to see what kind of punishment the NFL would put forth. And it was on June 30th that it was announced he will be suspended for Week 1 only against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rather surprising, to say the least.

It’s safe to assume both the Jets and Richardson were anticipating more than one game; if anything even more than the four he served last season due to the circumstances of the offense. Now that it is final, it looks like he is getting past it, both mentally and physically.

So far this offseason, Richardson has kept away from distractions and focusing on the task at hand with the Jets. Richardson has dropped 11 pounds off of last seasons playing weight, which received praise from head coach Todd Bowles.

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In an article written by Dom Cosentino of, here is what Bowles said about Richardson:

“He was a little heavier last year. Sheldon’s a good athlete. He holds it well. He can move, but, being a little bit lighter for him will play into his benefit.”

Richardson notes that his prior behavior cannot hangover his future.

With a potential big contract looming, best believe he will do what it takes to earn that payday. With the departure of defensive tackle Damon Harrison to the New York Giants and fellow defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson coming back from a Week 17 leg break last season, Richardson knows he will be due for more playing time and responsibility assisting that front line alongside second year defensive end Leonard Williams.

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In a shortened season last year, Richardson posted 35 total tackles with five sacks and two forced fumbles. He is not only a former Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, but also had a Pro Bowl year in 2014. He has all the talent to succeed, he just needs to keep his mind focused on football. Can Richardson find himself repeating his 2014 campaign? Sound off in the comments below!