Sheldon Richardson proves locker room is still toxic

Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite Sheldon Richardson’s snide assertions that the locker room dysfunction of the New York Jets is in the past, his continued presence on the team is proof that the organization is still an undisciplined mess. 

Full-time troublemaker and part-time New York Jets Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson once again made headlines this past week. And yet again, it had nothing to do with anything that happens on a football field.

In a recent interview, Richardson publicly ripped his former teammate Brandon Marshall once again. I have no desire to dignify Richardson’s stupidity by sharing his words here, but suffice to say he implied the Jets locker room problems are over now that Marshall is gone.

There is only one problem with his theory. Marshall is not perfect, but he was far from the only source of conflict in the Jets’ locker room last year.

Since the Jets drafted him, Richardson has endured legal troubles. He has shown up late to team events. He made a derogatory comment about women.  He has publicly insulted his then-teammate Marshall on multiple occasions. And for carrying all his baggage, Richardson rewarded the Jets with an “impressive” 1.5 sack season in 2016.

In the two years that Marshall spent with the Jets, he scored 17 touchdowns while averaging over 1,000 receiving yards a season. Off the field, Marshall did absolutely nothing. He was content to let his on-field production speak for itself.

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I imagine many readers are now ready to bombard the comments section, informing me that Marshall is far from innocent.

However, take a second to look at the situation objectively. Marshall, despite his checkered past, had no legal problems in New York.

While he certainly fought with his teammates in the locker room, he never publicly aired his grievances to the media. No teammates could ever question his focus, as he didn’t feel the need to post embarrassing Snapchat videos or show up late to team events.

While he was far from being great last year, Marshall did manage to lead the team in receptions. In the midst of an awful season, at least he produced something positive. The only stat Richardson leads the Jets in is “number of embarrassing incidents.”

Yet when the Jets were forced to choose between the two players, they sent Marshall packing. From a pure football perspective, the move makes sense. Richardson is younger and could still factor into the team’s long-term plans. Marshall has at most a few more years of good football left in him.

Given Richardson’s recent comments, however, I wonder if the Jets are beginning to question their continued commitment to him.

Then again, perhaps Marshall responded to Richardson in a similar fashion? Let’s take a look at his latest comments, courtesy of Jordan Raanan of ESPN:

“I’m not a perfect guy…The first couple years of my career was rough, and a lot of it I did myself. I hurt myself. And since that point, once I figured things out, I’ve worked extremely hard to be a better person and work extremely hard to be a better teammate, a better father, a better husband, and I’m proud of where I’m at today.”

Marshall took responsibility for his past mistakes, admitted he is still a work in progress and refused to say anything negative about Richardson.

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When he’s not making mature and reasonable public statements, Marshall also runs a mental health foundation that brings hope to many hurting people. Take note, Jets, these are the kind of players you want in your locker room. And pay attention, Richardson, this is how adults behave.