FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Sheldon Richardson will love the New York spotlight. But will the spotlight love him back?
It became abundantly clear in his introductory news conference Friday that Richardson likes to talk. In fact, he was asked to talk about the time he did too much talking in college. During the run-up to a big game against Georgia, he said the Bulldogs play "old-man football." It created a firestorm and he apologized to the Georgia coaches.
"Oh, man, the media takes stuff and runs with it," said Richardson, who sat alongside fellow first-round pick Dee Milliner in the Jets' press room. "It was a joke. [Instead of] old-school football, I said old-man football. I didn't want to say old-school. They hand off left and right, and they had an offensive playbook of about 14 plays. Toss left, toss right, a little play-action here and there. But they're a powerhouse team and I understand why."
Georgia won, 41-20, on Missouri's home field. At the end of the game, Georgia players held up a sign that said, "Grown man football."
It wasn't the last time that Richardson's mouth got him into trouble. Late in the season, he was suspended for a pivotal game against Syracuse for breaking an unspecified team rule. An NFL source said Richardson showed up late for an academic meeting and was required, as punishment, to run the stadium steps.
"He was reluctant, didn't want to do it because he claimed he was hurt," the source said. "He talked back to the coach and said he'd come back and do it another day."
The source described Richardson as "an immature knucklehead, but certainly not a bad kid." In the big picture, his suspension hardly qualifies as a major transgressions, considering the rap sheets that some players bring into the NFL. Richardson came off as affable, but confident. He expects to start as a rookie.
"I want to start," he said. "They didn't draft us to sit behind anybody."
The Jets chose Richardson with the 13th pick, Milliner with the ninth pick. Both will play significant roles as rookies, although Richardson's role is a bit of a mystery. He's an interior linemen, and they have two others in Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, both former No. 1 picks. Rex Ryan plays multiple fronts, and he acknowledged there could be more 4-3 looks than in the past. Richardson said he was surprised the Jets took him because they hadn't talked to him since the scouting combine in February.
Milliner, of course, will be compared to former Jets CB Darrelle Revis. When he heard they had traded Revis to the Bucs, Milliner figured they'd be in the market for another corner.
"When they traded Revis, I didn't know who they'd get or when they'd get it, but I figure they'd have to take one," he said.
Milliner said he may reach out to Revis for advice "because I know he's a great corner and I know he could help me out."