Revis said he isn’t upset with Richardson but he described the defensive lineman’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse as “devastating.”
“It’s tough, a tough loss for the team,” Revis said on Wednesday. “I had a conversation with him. I think he understands how devastating that is for our team and it is something that he has to go through and we are still here for him and we are backing him as teammates.”
Jets players checked into camp on Wednesday, but Richardson was not made available to reporters. The Jets’ best young defensive player was suspended without pay for the first four games earlier in July, a blow that could have a big impact on the kind of start Todd Bowles wants to have in his first season as head coach.
As one of the older and more accomplished players on the roster, Revis wanted to speak with Richardson and did so at the team facility.
“It is not more so [being] upset [with him as] it is more me being older and trying to share some wisdom with him a little bit and try to see where his head at,” Revis explained. “Just have a simple conversation.
“Not really trying to point the finger at somebody. We all make mistakes in life and this is something that he is going through in his career and you try to help him and back him up.”
Richardson’s suspension opens an opportunity for the team’s top draft pick, Leonard Williams. The sixth overall pick out of USC could see more reps this preseason. The hope is that the 6-foot-5, 302-pound defensive lineman helps fill the four-game void left by Richardson, who had eight sacks last season.
“He’s a first-rounder, so being a former first-rounder, I understand the situation,” said linebacker Quinton Coples. “You got to be ready. There ain’t too many teams that sit their first-round players out. I think it will be a great opportunity for him to step up.
“But it is not going to come easy. It is not going to come just because he is a first-rounder. There is a lot of competition at that position. Let the best man win. We are going to use whoever is out there on the field.”
Linebacker David Harris doesn’t want to make any comparisons between Williams and Richardson, but he thinks the rookie is smart and will do well.
“Everybody knows what type of player Sheldon is,” Harris said. “Somebody has to step up when their number is called. I think the D-line is going to take that challenge. It’s out of our hands. He’s gone four games. We’ve got to get past that. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We have to move on.”