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Jets DL Richardson suspended four games

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New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was suspended the first four games of the 2015 season for a violation of the league substance abuse program.

The league announced the suspension of Richardson on Thursday, four weeks before the Jets report to training camp under first-year coach Todd Bowles.

“This is disappointing for Sheldon and the team. We’re going to support Sheldon and welcome him back upon his return. We will keep moving forward with our preparations for the upcoming season,” Bowles said in a press release.

Defensive line depth is a strength, but Richardson is one of the best five-technique ends in the NFL.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough,” Richardson said. “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.”

The Jets might have been aware of the loss of Richardson, who will not play in games against the Browns, Colts, Eagles and Dolphins, when new general manager Mike Maccagnan used the sixth overall pick in the draft to select Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams in April.

The Jets’ other starting defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson, gains more leverage in his bid for a new long-term contract with the Jets, even if he sounded hesitant to hold out during a minicamp interview in June.

“If I have to play under my contract, so be it,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson is due $6.97 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract and was a no-show for all non-mandatory workouts this spring.


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