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Sheldon Richardson: Practices were harder than games

Sheldon Richardson doesn't lack for confidence.

After boasting late last season that he was "most definitely" the best choice for Defensive Rookie of the Year -- an award he won -- the New York Jets defensive end expects a "dominant" second season in Gotham.

"When I see myself on film, I pat myself on the back," Richardson told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Emerging last year as a premier run-stuffer, Richardson teamed with Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison to form one of the nastiest defensive fronts league-wide. Along the way, Richardson racked up 41 stops -- second only to J.J. Watt among 3-4 defensive ends.

"It wasn't overwhelming," Richardson said of the switch from college to the NFL. "The practices that we had were so intense last year. Practices were harder than the games for me throughout the year, believe it or not."

Some bumped on Richardson bragging to reporters in December that he'd likely go No. 1 in a re-do of last year's draft, but here's the kicker: He's right.

Considering New York's weakened and banged-up secondary, there might not be a more important player on this year's Jets defense.

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