ST. LOUIS (AP) – A day after New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson’s four-game drug suspension ended, a judge on Monday postponed the Pro Bowler’s hearing on charges stemming from his arrest in Missouri this summer following a police chase.
The St. Charles County judge delayed the hearing until Nov. 9 at the request of Richardson’s attorney. Richardson completed a four-game suspension Sunday for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, namely for using marijuana. That suspension came 12 days before his Missouri arrest, which carries a possibility of more discipline because it violates the league’s personal conduct policy.
“We are monitoring developments in the case,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday.
Richardson, who did not appear in court, has pleaded not guilty to the five misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest. The 24-year-old former University of Missouri star was arrested July 14 after a chase that began on Interstate 64, where police say he was driving his 2014 Bentley Silver Spur at speeds up to 143 mph with a 12-year-old relative and two other men inside the car. Police said Richardson, who lives in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon in the offseason, appeared to be racing with another car.
Police say they found a loaded handgun under a floor mat, and a probable cause statement said officers detected a “very strong odor of burned marijuana.” No gun charges were filed because Richardson legally owned the weapon, and prosecutors declined to pursue drug possession or child endangerment counts, citing insufficient evidence.
A conviction for resisting arrest is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, though Richardson expressed confidence in August that he won’t face jail time – “I really don’t think it’ll go that far, but we’ll see.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles said Monday that he hadn’t received word from the league about the prospect of additional discipline. Richardson’s addition to the lineup would only add to the Jets’ strong defensive line, which harassed Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill during much of Sunday’s 27-14 win over the Dolphins in London. He was sacked three times as the Jets used aggressive blitz packages.
The Jets (3-1), whose defense has forced a league-high 13 turnovers this season, have a bye this week and next play Washington on Oct. 18, which would mark Richardson’s first game this season barring another NFL suspension.
Richardson’s return “gives us an extra weapon, some extra depth down there (on the defensive line). I mean, he’s a Pro Bowl player and he’s a heck of a player,” Bowles said. “We’ve got to get him back in football shape and get him back in the rotation and keep moving forward.”
Bowles insisted that incorporating Richardson into what has been one of the league’s best defenses this season won’t be an issue: “You don’t have a challenge finding places for good players to play. You just play them.” The Jets would have to clear roster space to make room for Richardson.
Richardson was the 13th overall pick in 2013 and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year that season. He played in the Pro Bowl last season.
He apologized to the organization and his teammates after the news of his arrest came out, something he withheld from even his parents until reports surfaced on July 30, early in training camp.