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Sheldon Richardson: 'I'm disappointed and embarrassed'

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Are you ashamed of yourself, considering the events of the offseason -- a four-game drug suspension and an arrest for resisting arrest?

Sheldon Richardson: I’m disappointed and embarrassed for my parents’ sake. When you’re in the NFL and you mess up, the world knows about it. Pretty much, my family goes through a lot. People don’t want to talk to them at work anymore, little things like that. When I get back on the field, it’s going to be the same old Sheldon … a baller.

Near the end of last season, you created a headline when you claimed you’re on the same level as J.J. Watt and the other top defensive linemen in the game. Still feel the same way? Why?

Richardson: I am one of the top defensive linemen. People have their own opinion about stuff. You like it or you don’t. That’s my opinion about myself; that’s just how I feel. The only person who I think has a more all-around game is J.J. Watt. [Gerald] McCoy is a sack guy. If you’re just a sack guy, you’re not helping the run. I’ve had 80-plus tackles and 70-plus tackle seasons. Now I’m adding my sack repertoire to that. I’m an all-around defensive lineman, not just a penetrating defensive tackle or just a sack-getting defensive tackle. I play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I don’t mind being a trash man and help open up gaps to help other guys make plays, too -- that stuff you don’t see on film or see in the stat book. Most people don’t see it. When they’re watching the game, they’re only watching the ball.

You more than doubled your sack production in your second year. What is the ceiling for Sheldon Richardson?

Richardson: The sky’s the limit. I don’t put a limitation on myself. I just want to do better than eight this year, that’s all I know. I’m just going to roll with that. I’m going to try to add more to my repertoire.

With all the talent added to the defense in the offseason, how would you feel about facing the Jets if you were an opposing quarterback?

Richardson: [Laughs] I’d be a little worried about that.