I think it would be fair to say Sheldon Richardson has made some poor decisions over the course of the offseason. The reactions to all of the news surrounding Richardson have run the gamut. We have heard calls for the Jets to get rid of Richardson and opinions that Richardson has done nothing wrong.
My view falls somewhere in the middle. I think there has to be some level of concern over what has happened with Richardson. I do not think there is enough to write him off completely, though.
Every single one of us makes poor decisions. Most of us make an exceptionally poor decision here or there. When combined with a little bad luck and being at the wrong place at the wrong time, the exceptionally poor decisions can have a major negative impact.
The poor decisions we make are a big deal. They do not ultimately define us as people, though. What defines us is how we respond to our poor decisions. If we continue to make bad decision after bad decision and never learn, that is a problem. We are not irredeemable after a bad decision or even a series of bad decisions.
This brings us to Richardson. The other day, David said the Jets cannot trust Sheldon. I think that is a fair thing to say right now. Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan have said these incidents have impacted their trust. Richardson has made some poor decisions. Trust can be rebuilt over time, though.
The trust the Jets have in Sheldon might be damaged or even completely gone today. Where things stand today isn't necessarily what will define Sheldon Richardson's Jets career. He is under contract for two more years, and he has a team option for a third year the Jets will almost certainly pick up. In three years, Sheldon might have shown he has gotten the message and be worthy of that trust.
The only real option the Jets have is to wait to offer whatever support and guidance they can, and hope Richardson has learned from his mistakes. He is an immense talent on the defensive line. His two NFL seasons have produced a Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl. If the team was to get rid of him now, they would never get equal value. I'm sure many teams out there would be willing to take him. They would also factor the risk from these recent incidents into the price. It would be a downgrade.
We should not act like Richardson's offseason is no big deal. He has shown some disturbing signs, and has put his NFL future at some risk. We should not be in the business of quickly writing people off, though. People learn from mistakes, and we have seen many players turn things around after doing much worse.
As fans, we can only help Sheldon gets the message, and the Jets offer him the support needed for him to be a positive force both on and off the field.