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Sheldon Richardson says he won’t ‘chase a ring’ the way Kevin Durant did

Richardson is set to become a free agent in 2018, but he doesn’t want to leave the Jets to join a contender.

New York Jets v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sheldon Richardson likes being with the New York Jets and likes being the underdog. The defensive lineman is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2017 season, but he wants to stay with the Jets and says he won’t chase a ring the way Kevin Durant did with the Golden State Warriors.

"I don't like it personally," Richardson told NJ Advance Media of Durant’s decision to join the Warriors. "But he got a ring out of it. He was already an elite athlete, and he wasn't getting it done where he was at, I guess. So he felt like he needed to leave, and it was his decision. Would I have done that? No, I wouldn't have. It's a little different for me. I wouldn't do it, but I don't blame him for doing it."

Durant was named the NBA Finals MVP after helping lead the Warriors to a championship in his first season with the team. He spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder (his first was with the Seattle Supersonics before the team relocated), but lost in his only previous trip to the NBA Finals.

Richardson, 26, is entering his fifth season with the Jets after the team picked up an option on his contract last offseason. While he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2014, his production has dropped off, and his venture into free agency will be nothing close to what it was for Durant — an eight-time NBA All-Star and the 2013-14 NBA MVP.

But plenty of NFL players have accepted lesser contracts to play for a contender. Richardson isn’t interested in that.

“I'm not saying I'm allergic to going anywhere else, but I just love being around here in this organization,” Richardson said. “I love being the underdog. It's easy to go to an established franchise for a guy in my position and just go chase a ring. But I'd rather try to make one here.”

Richardson isn’t the first NFL player to criticize Durant after the NBA Finals. Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib complained about Durant on Twitter, despite leaving the New England Patriots in free agency four years ago to join Denver, where he eventually won his first Super Bowl.

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman called Durant joining the Warriors “unfair,” even though he plays for a team that added Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, and Dwayne Allen this offseason after winning the Super Bowl in February.

It sounds like Richardson doesn’t plan on joining the Patriots next offseason. He even said he’d like to finish his career with the Jets — a team that won’t be competing for a Super Bowl anytime soon. That doesn’t mean his situation is very comparable to Durant’s, though.