FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sheldon Richardson delivered a peculiar verbal salvo at Brandon Marshall in the wake of the Jets’ embarrassing 41-3 loss to the Patriots on Saturday, ripping the veteran leader for an undisclosed reason. Marshall took the high road, but the damage was done.
The ugliness of this wretched and wasted season finally bubbled to the surface between two of the team's brightest stars. Richardson and Marshall were supposed to galvanize this team. They were two of the few difference makers that Todd Bowles had at his disposal.
So, what happened? Why did Richardson channel his inner SuperFly Snuka and drop a bomb from the top rope on his teammate?
Moments after Marshall said the Jets latest loss was "just embarrassing" for all parties in green-and-white, Richardson made it clear that at least one guy should not be pleased.
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"He should be embarrassed," Richardson said of Marshall.
"There's no reason," Richardson said. "He just should be."
Asked to elaborate, Richardson only offered, "He knows what he did. It's cool, bro… It's irrelevant. Scratch that comment."
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Richardson is way too talented and way too important for this team to call out a teammate that has been a mentor and leader to younger players. Maybe it was justified. Maybe he had a good reason to say what he did, but he refused to delve into further details.
On the surface, it makes little sense. Marshall has been a positive influence in the locker room for the past two seasons. He's taken on a mentorship and leadership role amid this awful campaign, but it's clear that Richardson doesn't exactly believe in his teammate. Remember, the two former Pro Bowlers had a verbal sparring session in the lockerroom after a Week 3 loss in Kansas City.
Marshall's brief, but critical remarks about Richardson this week in the wake of the defensive lineman's Snapchat snafu might have irked Richardson. "I don't care what the guy says," Richardson said, before later adding. "No animosity whatsoever."
Richardson said that he has a “business-only" relationship with Marshall, but does he respect him?
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"Personally? Yeah," Richardson said. "Professionally? (He shook head no and grunted)… I can't even explain it, bro."
Asked to explain further less his words get misconstrued, Richardson said, "I don't care. I've been misconstrued my whole career. It doesn't really matter with me."
Marshall should be the ideal mentor for Richardson, whose off-field incidents have clouded the fact that he's a damn good player. There's little doubt that Marshall, whose overcome his own transgressions as a younger man, should be one of the players that Richardson seeks out, not pushes away.
"That's Sheldon, man," Marshall told two reporters in the corridor at Gillette Stadium when asked to respond to Richardson's harsh comments. "It's Sheldon. Our stories and our journey, the start of our careers are totally different, but really similar. It hurts to see someone with so much potential and so many people trying to help him… I just wish him the best. I hope that he gets everything he wants, man. He's an amazing talent. I just want him to see the big picture."
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"I know one of the things that he's always said to me is he wants me to make more plays," added Marshall, who had two catches for 28 yards before leaving the game with a hip injury. "So that's the only thing I can think of."
Marshall said that there was no altercation with Richardson on Saturday, but the disconnect between the two players has to be troubling for Bowles, whose season has been a tire fire in the truest sense.
Richardson walked past Marshall in the corridor at Gillette Stadium, looking at his phone as he headed toward the team bus. Marshall continued to explain what he hopes his teammate will become down the road.
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"I'm a little caught off guard to be honest with you," Marshall said. "But I don't know where it's coming from. I just know that there's a lot of guys in our locker room doing everything they can and lead and bring guys along. It's not always easy especially in this environment. He's definitely a guy that I see myself in when I was younger. Totally different stories, but there's so much potential, so much growth there. So hopefully he grows."
The future for both remains unclear. They both might be gone.
Who knows whose fault it is. It doesn't really matter now.
The Jets needed Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson to be buoy each other.
That obviously didn't happen.Send a Letter to the Editor