Jets DL Sheldon Richardson Suspended Four Games for Violating Substance Abuse Policy

By Vincent Frank

New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson—one of the top players at his position in the NFL—will miss the first four games of the 2015 season after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

According to Manish Mehta  of the NY Daily News, the suspension stems from a positive marijuana test. You read that right, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman was suspended for a quarter of the 2015 season for testing positive for marijuana.

Richardson had this to say in a statement:

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans,” Richardson said in a statement, via NFL.com. “However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

It’s an absolutely huge blow for first-year head coach Todd Bowles. Richardson, 24, graded out as the second-best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL last season, behind only J.J. Watt (via Pro Football Focus, subscription required).

The good news here is that the Jets did take former USC standout Leonard Williams in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft back in late April. He should be able to fill the void early on.

Though, this latest suspension will continue to place the NFL under the microscope. Four games for smoking a “drug” that has become socially acceptable and is legalized in multiple states. It seems a tad severe.

Photo: USA Today Sports