Jets' DT Sheldon Richardson Suspended First 4 Games of 2015
The 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Sheldon Richardson has become one of football's most dominating 3-4 defensive ends. Unfortunately for Richardson and the Jets, his presence in the middle of Todd Bowles' defense will be absent for the first four games of the new season.
The NFL announced Richardson's four-game suspension today, a result of his violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Richardson will be available for training camp and the preseason, though he will be sidelined for the first games, including matchups with the Browns, Colts, Eagles and Dolphins.
The former Mizzou Tiger was rated as Pro Football Focus' 2nd-best 3-4 DE a year ago, behind only J.J. Watt. The Jets released the following statement on Richardson's behalf:
“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”
As good as Richardson is, the Jets are comfortably set along the defensive line, with Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, who many believed to be the best prospect in the 2015 draft. Williams, who wasn't expected to be starved for playing time, will be expected to have an even larger role in the Jets' defense in Richardson's stead.