RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Sheldon Richardson received the traditional welcome of being a new member of the Seattle Seahawks.
In his first team meeting on Monday, he was the brunt of a practical joke.
“The team meeting is nuts. The team meeting is a little different,” Richardson said after completing his first practice with his new team. “They got me today. Cracked a little joke on me. No need to go into it. But it was fun. A fun environment.”
Richardson became the latest star added to Seattle’s already standout defense when he was acquired via trade from the New York Jets last Friday for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick.
It appeared Richardson’s time with the Jets had worn thin, so the move may have been somewhat expected. The surprise was Seattle making such a strong statement about its intent for the upcoming season.
“The team that drafted me. Met some great people along the way, met people I liked and didn’t like,” Richardson said of leaving behind the Jets.
“Other than that, they’re still family. That locker room is still my brothers, I’ll keep in touch with them, I will, they know I will ride with them for the rest of my life because they looked out for me in tough times in my tribulations and trials. I’ll miss them.”
But Richardson is also well aware of the opportunity he’ll have in Seattle to possibly be on a championship roster, one that he wasn’t going to have with the Jets.
“Got a good opportunity here. Plan to make the most of it,” he said.
For now, Richardson appears to be a one-year rental with his contract set to expire at the end of the 2017 season.
But that rental could be the difference between Seattle being the NFC contender and the NFC representative come February in Minneapolis.
He becomes the eighth starter on Seattle’s defense to be selected to at least one Pro Bowl. He’ll join a defensive line already considered one of the best with Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark.
Richardson’s ability to rush from the interior, combined with those other three, suddenly makes Seattle’s defense even more of a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
So while it could end up being just one season that Seattle has Richardson, it was a bet worth making.
“This is a kid that is hungry to play,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s healthy. He’s ready to go and he will make an impact. He’ll be a nice fit with the rest of the guys.”
Seattle had been looking into Richardson’s availability for some time, but the uncertainty about rookie Malik McDowell’s health after he was involved in an ATV accident in July intensified the Seahawks’ pursuit of another talented defensive tackle.
The Seahawks still appear thin at the position headed into the regular season with just three true defensive tackles on the roster: Richardson, Jarran Reed and rookie Nazair Jones.
Richardson will begin playing just the “3 technique” position of defensive tackle in Seattle’s alignment.
“There were a number of guys, a number of things that were going that John (Schneider) was working on and that was one of the potential options and opportunities,” Carroll said.
“Take a look at what happened. We lost Malik McDowell and that was an area we were really excited about him coming in and adding in and when we realized we weren’t going to have him it made us look in earnest to find some way to help that spot. To come away with Sheldon is a fantastic accomplishment.”
NOTES: Seattle set its 10-man practice squad on Monday and it included eight players the team cut on Saturday. QB Trevone Boykin, C Joey Hunt, DB Mike Tyson, RB Mike Davis, WR Cyril Grayson, WR David Moore, TE Tyrone Swoopes and DT Garrison Smith were all with Seattle in training camp. The Seahawks added LB Austin Calitro and OL Jarron Jones. Calitro was cut by San Francisco and Jones by the New York Giants on Saturday. … One of the most debated cuts by Seattle was the release of WR Kasen Williams. Carroll said it was the mix Seattle needed in its receiving group, along with special teams needs that played into the decision to release Williams. … Carroll said most of the group of players that left last week to have Regenokine treatment should be ready for Sunday’s opener. The group included DEs Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, WR Tyler Lockett and guard Luke Joeckel. The one question is LB Michael Wilhoite.
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