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Sheldon Richardson pleads guilty, avoids jail time in police chase

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Jets' Richardson avoids jail time in police chase (2:29)

ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini discusses the plea agreement that helped Sheldon Richardson avoid jail time and what punishment he might face from the NFL. (2:29)

New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson will avoid jail time for leading police on a high-speed chase in July, but he pleaded guilty Tuesday to resisting arrest and is subject to a suspension under the NFL's personal-conduct policy.

Richardson, appearing in a suburban St. Louis court room, was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service for resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. For four traffic violations, he was fined a total of $1,050.

As part of the plea arrangement with the St. Charles County prosecutor, the misdemeanor will be expunged from Richardson's record upon completion of the probation, according to his attorney, Scott Rosenblum.

Now that the case has been adjudicated, the NFL is expected to determine whether Richardson will be suspended. The league's personal-conduct policy lists resisting arrest among the many transgressions subject to discipline.

Richardson served a four-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and that could factor into any future discipline.

Richardson, wearing a dark sports coat and red sneakers, declined to speak to reporters outside the court, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I'm hopeful that any action that has been taken today will cover everything (with the NFL)," Rosenblum told ESPN.com. "That's what we hope."

Leslie Knight, a spokeswoman for county prosecutor Tim Lohmar, called the plea bargain a "typical'' offer that wasn't influenced by Richardson's status.

"That's what we would do for anybody,'' she said after the brief hearing.

Richardson was arrested for driving a 2014 Bentley at speeds as high as 143 mph while trying to avoid police in suburban St. Louis. In addition to resisting arrest, he pleaded guilty to speeding and running a red light.

The chase ended when Richardson pulled into a stranger's driveway and shut off his lights, hoping police wouldn't spot him.

Richardson was accompanied by a 12-year-old relative, along with two adult males. Police reported a strong odor of marijuana in the car, and they discovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun. The gun was possessed legally, prosecutors said.

He wasn't charged with drug possession or child endangerment because prosecutors said there wasn't sufficient evidence. But, according to the league's conduct policy, a player not charged with a crime still can be disciplined if "credible evidence establishes" he violated the policy.

Richardson, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, recorded five sacks and 35 tackles in 11 games this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.