After serving a four-game suspension, Sheldon Richardson will finally join other New York Jets players in the field. The defensive tackle is set to return to practice next week after his drug-related suspension ended on Sunday.
Richardson, the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, has been reinstated by the league this week after being reprimanded for his violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. However, he might face additional sanctions related to his being arrested a few months ago in a separate incident.
The 24-year-old defensive lineman was arrested back in July following a car chase that began on Interstate 64. Police said that he was driving his 2014 Bentley Silver Spur at speeds reaching 143 mph. A 12-year-old relative and two other men were reportedly inside the vehicle. Authorities claimed that Richardson seemed to be racing with another car.
Furthermore, the police mentioned they discovered a loaded gun in the player's car and added that they detected "a very strong odor of burned marijuana." Nevertheless, gun charges were not filed since Richardson was found to be the legal and eligible owner of the weapon.
Because of the delay in Richardson's case, the NFL might not weigh in on his situation until after the season. As such, he will be qualified to play when the New York Jets face the Washington Redskins on October 18.
The team also have a roster exemption that gives them roughly a week to make a roster decision to include Richardson, Jets head coach Todd Bowles mentioned. "It gives us an extra weapon, extra depth down there. He's a Pro Bowl player. He's a heck of a player. We've got to get him back in football shape and get him in the rotation and keep moving forward," Bowles said.
Meanwhile, injuries continue to hit the Jets' lineup. As the team attempted to maintain its lead over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, two of its defensive starters has sustained injuries. Linebacker David Harris and defensive end Leonard Williams suffered from injuries to their quadriceps and ankle, respectively. The game was held at London's Wembley Stadium and was won by the Jets.
Bowles is not certain if they will be ready to play after the bye. "I hope so but it is too early to tell. As long as they get treatment and everything heals, hopefully that is the process. But I won't be able to tell until next week right now," the Jets coach told ESPN.
One of the biggest question about the team's lineup involves Williams, who was not available after the said match. If he will not be able to play in two weeks against the Redskins, the Jets may have a decent alternative--fellow defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The team only have one remaining practice during the bye week, which is on Tuesday. It will be an opportunity for the embattled player to hone his skills after a weeks-long suspension.