An offseason that was nothing short of sensational for the New York Jets has now given way to a training camp that has been a tempest in a teapot. And for a first year general manager, life hasn't been smooth for Mike Maccagnan over the past 72 years.
With news of defensive end Sheldon Richardson's arrest in mid-July, an incident that he didn't tell the team about, Maccagnan could well lose one of his biggest stars. Richardson was already suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy and now could face a much longer suspension for this latest incident where he led a high-speed police chase and was pulled over in a car where a firearm and marijuana was found.
Maccagnan spoke to the media on Saturday for the first time following the news of Richardson's arrest, the second black eye for the Jets player in a month.
“That was something that was disappointing, very disappointing. It was not something we were aware of till it came across the internet, the media. Todd kind of said this the other day and I'm in agreement. We do worry about Sheldon in terms of the decisions he's made off the field. There's a degree of trust that's been broken,” Maccagnan said. “We are supportive of him. There are a lot of resources in this building that we want to make available to him. Our days are always open. Definitely will be a better line of communication between Sheldon and us. We're going to do everything in our powers to help him, not just as a football player develop but do the right things off the field.”
First a drug suspension and then a couple weeks later arrested – certainly red flags abound for Richardson's behavior.
The interesting thing was hearing Maccagnan several times point towards trust being broken between Richardson and the Jets. This is a new regime atop the Jets with Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles now in place. They've brought more discipline to the organization and more structure then former head coach Rex Ryan.
How Richardson can handle this is now up to him. But hiding his arrest from the team will only serve to fracture a relationship with Maccagnan and Bowles that is still very much in its infancy.
As for his future with the team, Maccagnan wouldn't speculate. Richardson, if convicted for the charges brought against him, could well face another suspension that could take him away from the Jets for much of this upcoming season.
“I'm going to say this, based on everything so far, we like Sheldon quite a bit. I've only been here since the spring,” Maccagnan said. “But I think long-term, to me I'm going to let this thing play-out. Time will tell. There's nothing on our end where we predetermine that.”