Jets' Richardson awaits legal process, ruling on suspension
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Sheldon Richardson is eager to find out when he'll be able to play this season.
The New York Jets defensive lineman has already been suspended the first four regular-season games by the NFL. He's awaiting word on if he'll have to sit out a few more.
''When I get the date of when I actually can return, then I can actually start moving forward,'' Richardson said after practice Wednesday. ''Until then, it's just going to be a cloud over my head.''
Richardson was suspended July 2 for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He could face an additional suspension from Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was charged with resisting arrest in Missouri on July 14 and not reporting it to the team - a possible violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Richardson was in a high-speed road race in which he traveled up to 143 mph, and sped from police, who found a loaded gun in his car, which smelled of burnt marijuana. One of his three passengers was a 12-year-old boy.
Richardson's arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 31 in Missouri. He'll remain with the team while his lawyers handle things, and remains confident he ultimately won't face jail time.
''I really don't think it'll go that far,'' he said, ''but we'll see.''
Richardson acknowledged that he's anxious about his situation, and uncertain as to what to expect from Goodell and the league as far as a possible extension to his suspension.
''That's out of my hands, right there,'' he said. ''Whatever happens, happens. ... I could go from four games to however long he wants to give me, so it's pretty tough.''
Richardson was the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year and played in the Pro Bowl last season. Because he'll be sitting out at least the first four games, Richardson has been mainly working with the backups during training camp and in preseason games, while first-round pick Leonard Williams has gotten the bulk of the playing time with the starters.
''It's most definitely been a humbling experience,'' he said about his situation. ''I've just got to learn from it. I consider myself a humble guy off camera.''
Richardson apologized to the organization and his teammates after the news of his arrest came out, something he withheld from even his parents until reports on the internet surfaced early in training camp.
Several Jets players offered public support for Richardson, with many saying he was a good person who made a mistake and just needs to get his life situated. Richardson said the camaraderie of his teammates has been ''comforting.'' He added that after the first day following the news, he didn't feel the need to keep saying he was sorry to his teammates.
''They've been my teammates, same regular conversations,'' he said. ''They're waiting on the verdict, just like I am, and waiting for me to get back and carry on.''
During his suspension, Richardson will be able to work out at the team's facility, but will not be allowed to practice.
After first resisting the idea, Richardson agreed at his parents' suggestion to undergo counseling through the team, which he said has been ''somewhat'' helpful.
''I've just been learning things about myself,'' he said, ''dealing with life endeavors that have been hard for me to deal with, talking to someone outside my circle, little things like that.''
Richardson considers himself a private person despite his sometimes loud and colorful personality on the field. Opening himself up during counseling hasn't been difficult, though. And, he doesn't feel the need to make drastic changes to his life.
''Other than doing a bad mistake on one night, nah, not really,'' Richardson said. ''That's the only thing I'd change. I'm pretty quiet off the field, honestly. I keep to myself, stay in my room, really, play video games. Regular person, except I just happen to be in the NFL.''
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