Sheldon Richardson might be out longer for four games and the New York Jets are preparing to possibly lose their Pro Bowl defensive end for longer than that a source says.
Richardson, who was suspended in early-July for violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, now faces more legal issues with the news on Thursday that he was arrested on July 14th. The story involves a high-speed car chase, running a red light, the presence of a firearm as well as marijuana, all with a 12-year old in the vehicle. For a league that is very sensitive to bad press recently, the book might well be thrown at Richardson.
But the Jets, who just found out about Richardson's arrest late on Thursday afternoon, are now getting ready for the eventuality that one of their stars might not be available this year. A team source, speaking to Metro New York on the condition of anonymity on Friday morning, said that on Thursday night, members of management and the coaching staff talked about the possibility that Richardson might be suspended by the league for the year or simply “might not be with the team.”
An NFL spokesman told Metro on Thursday night that the league was aware of the situation and investigating Richardson's recent arrest.
Given recent incidents involving Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, it is not far-fetched to think that the league will hand down a long-term suspension for Richardson, especially in light of his court hearing in October. The Jets, the source said, were aware of this possibility almost immediately and began to prepare “for the possibility that 'Shel' might not be a part of the team this year.”
“What was most worrisome is that he tried to cover this up, he didn't tell anyone on the team about this,” the source said. “Like we wouldn't know.”
“It is a character concern,” the source said. “It is a liability thing to. You have money tied up in this guy, first round money, and he says one thing on the first day of camp. Then, what, minutes later, this comes out? That is a serious lack of judgment.”
As for any plans for life without Richardson, it is just a contingency but the Jets “must be ready if and should things get to the point where it becomes clear that he won't be with us this year.” The source said that the Jets have been in the process of getting ready for the possibility of Richardson being out for “several weeks now.”