New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has pleaded not guilty after being charged with resisting arrest following a July 14 incident that allegedly involved street racing with a 12-year-old boy in the back seat, carrying a loaded handgun and smelling of marijuana, according to New York Newsday. Per the police report, Richardson drove at speeds up to 143 mph while racing another car.
After initially fleeing from police, Richardson was eventually pulled over. A police officer found a semi-automatic and fully loaded handgun under the driver's side floor mat and noted that Richardson and the passengers smelled of burned marijuana.
Richardson is currently under a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. His charge occurred roughly two weeks after the suspension was announced. Richardson practiced Monday with the Jets.
Richardson reportedly spoke to reporters one hour before news broke of his the incident. He promised he would no longer be making headlines for the wrong reasons in what proved to be a poorly timed media appearance.
"I failed every drug test and this drug test, so there wasn't no reason to appeal it," Richardson said. "I take full accountability for my actions. Like I said before, I apologize to my teammates, to this organization, I told them you don't have to worry about my name being in the news again."
The Jets were unaware that the situation had taken place until media reported the incident, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, which may explain why the team allowed media to meet with the defensive lineman after practice. The team sent a statement to reporters Thursday evening.
Jets statement on Sheldon: "We are aware of the situation & gathering info. This is a pending legal matter. We will have no further comment"— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) July 30, 2015
The alleged incident occurred in St. Charles County, Missouri. Richardson is currently facing four charges, including resisting arrest and various traffic violations. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, prosecutor Tim Lohmar said there was no evidence presented to base a drug charge. In addition to resisting arrest, Richardson was also charged with exceeding the speed limit, following too closely, failing to use lights and failing to obey a traffic signal.
According to court records, the arresting officer also sought a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, but Lohmar said there was insufficient evidence to prove that charge.
Richardson is entering his third year in the NFL. He was named the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after being made a first-round selection by the Jets. In 2014, he was named to the Pro Bowl after compiling eight sacks and one forced fumble in head coach Rex Ryan's final year with the team. He was expected to spearhead one of the league's best defensive lines, which also includes Muhammad Wilkerson and first-round rookie Leonard Williams.
Richardson invited criticism this offseason after skipping voluntary offseason workouts. In May, he responded to his detractors.
I have a life outside of football n I chose to enjoy my family a little longer so to u fans that know everything please worry bout yourself— Sheldon Richardson (@Godforshort) May 22, 2015