For the second season in a row, the New York Jets will be without defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to begin the season. The NFL handed down a one game suspension to the Pro Bowler after he was arrested last July for driving his Bentley upwards of 140 mph. Richardson pled guilty to lesser charges in order to avoid any significant legal penalties.
Police say that Richardson was with three passengers, including a 12-year-old relative, at the time that he was stopped. The police also found a loaded semi-automatic handgun under a floor mat and that the car smelled of marijuana.
This is Richardson's second suspension in as many seasons. He missed the first four games of 2015 after being suspended for a violation of the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy.
In just 11 games last season, Richardson recorded 5 sacks, 35 tackles, two forced fumbles and two passes defended.
Richardson's absence puts even more attention on the Jets and the Muhammad Wilkerson saga. Wilkerson has not yet signed his franchise tender and has expressed his frustration that the Jets have not offered him a long term contract. Wilkerson has not yet reported to any of the Jets' training camps and has said that he may consider holding out even further.
Many consider the Jets' defensive front, featuring Wilkerson, Richardson and Leonard Williams, one of the best in football but with questions now swirling about both Richardson and Wilkerson the Jets could be facing some uncertainty in an area they expected to be rock solid.
Richardson will miss the Jets' Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals but will return for a divisional clash against Buffalo.