We sat down with DT Sheldon Richardson, one of four rookies in the Jets' opening-day lineup. Some of our conversation:
Q: The Jets drafted you 13th overall, with the pick they acquired in the Darrelle Revis trade. You're facing Revis on Sunday. Feel any pressure?
A: (Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman) calls me, 'Spot No. 9, Four Spots Behind.' That was one of my names in training camp. (A reference to top pick Dee Milliner). No, not at all, I don't feel any pressure. I don't worry about what other people think. I wasn't supposed to make it out of junior college. I'm here to do me. I'm here to make my own name in the league. Darrelle Revis is Darrelle Revis. Of course, he's an outstanding lockdown corner, but he still has to show up at games on Sunday.
Q: What do you mean, you weren't supposed to make it out of junior college?
A: People get lost in the shuffle. Guys get beside themselves, egos get to them. I was the fourth overall recruit (in the country) coming out of high school and I went to a junior college (College of the Sequoias in California), so it's a culture shock. You go from being promised all this stuff, this and that ... this is what the school is like ... gorgeous weight room. In junior college, you're living on the floor. It's a humbling experience. Coming out of high school, I was a hot head. You couldn't tell me nothing. I felt I was better than anything walking. I still do, but I do it at a cooler level than that. I used to have problems. People say it's a slice of humble pie. Well, I had the whole pie.
Q: The Jets haven't started four rookies on opening day since 1979. What does that say about this team?
A: There's always time for a change. There's nothing wrong with starting rookies if they're ready, and I believe we're ready. Geno (Smith) had a rough start (against the Giants), but it was one game. Now he has to start again. I told him, 'Let that go, you have to have a short-term memory, go out there and let loose.' He's a good player. He can make every throw on the field. I talked to Dee and told him, 'Do what got you here. Number nine overall, baby.' Gave him some confidence even though he doesn't need any. That's my brother. We were roommates throughout the whole rookie period. We're real tight. Tommy (Bohanon), he's been consistent. I haven't see a day off from him. We're a tight-knit group.