Sheldon Richardson rejoins Jets, says 'I'm coming to eat'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After serving a four-game league suspension for marijuana violations, Pro Bowl defensive end Sheldon Richardson rejoined the New York Jets on Monday, vowing to upgrade their already stacked defensive line.

"I'm coming," said Richardson, repeating what he has told his linemates. "I'm coming to eat, too."

The Jets (3-1) did just fine without Richardson's all-around play, establishing themselves as one of the better defensive teams. They're ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 2 in yards allowed, getting solid play from Richardson's replacement, first-round pick Leonard Williams.

"I'm coming. I'm coming to eat, too."
Sheldon Richardson

The group also includes former first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson, who has a team-high 3.5 sacks, and well-respected nose tackle Damon Harrison.

"No breaks for quarterbacks," said Richardson, who practiced for the first time since the preseason and will make his 2015 debut Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Coach Todd Bowles said he won't decide Richardson's role until later in the week. He didn't dismiss the possibility of Richardson starting, although it sounds like his snaps will be limited as he works his way back into football shape.

Richardson worked out and attended meetings during the suspension, but he was prohibited from practicing with the team.

Bowles said the goal is to "get him into shape first, let him run around, get his wind and his football legs under him. Game plan-wise, we'll have to see how it goes later in the week."

Richardson learned of the suspension in early July. During the preseason, he was used primarily as a backup, watching Williams -- the sixth overall pick -- perform in his old position. Now the trick is to figure out a way to maintain harmony on a crowded and talented defensive line.

"We've got some good defensive linemen, and they're all going to play," Bowles said. "We've got a lot of depth at that position."

Richardson is facing the possibility of another suspension, but he doesn't believe that will happen this season. In mid-July, he was charged with resisting arrest -- a misdemeanor -- for leading police on a high-speed chase near his home in Missouri. He was clocked at 143 mph, and there was a child in the car, along with the smell of marijuana, police said.

A hearing date was recently postponed until next month.

"When that got postponed, I kind of figured I'd be in for this season," Richardson said. "But it could be tacked on next year, so we'll see."

Team officials, disappointed by the suspension and arrest, have talked openly about how Richardson has to regain their trust. He shrugged when asked if he has accomplished that.

"I have no idea," Richardson said. "I'm going to be myself, a happy-go-lucky guy who dominates on the field. As far as trust goes, you know how this business works, so who knows?"

By rule, Richardson land a four-game ban by committing at least three marijuana violations in his first two seasons. Bowles said it's too soon to say if Richardson has learned a lesson.

"I wish I could answer that question for you," Bowles said. "I see him in the building and I don't see anything [wrong]. He's kept his mouth clean and his nose clean. It's an ongoing process. I don't think you learn a lesson in a month or so. It's an ongoing deal that will be answered later in life."