Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended one game

Sheldon Richardson's season will start later than planned.

The NFL announced Thursday that the New York Jets defensive lineman has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2016 regular season for violating the league's personal-conduct policy due to a 2015 offseason arrest.

The Jets open the season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Richardson is eligible to return to New York's active roster on Monday, Sept. 12, ahead of Gang Green's Week 2 road tilt against the Buffalo Bills.

The suspension comes in response to Richardson's July 2015 arrest for driving a 2014 Bentley Silver Spur at speeds up to 143 mph on an interstate highway near his offseason home. The one-time Pro Bowler avoided jail time after pleading guilty in January to reduced charges connected to last summer's high-speed police chase in suburban St. Louis.

Richardson was accompanied by a 12-year-old relative and two male passengers when he was stopped. Police say they found a loaded semi-automatic handgun under a floor mat and detected a strong marijuana odor.

The suspension does nothing to help a Jets team that lost nose tackle Damon Harrison in free agency and has yet to see defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson sign his franchise tag.

Entering his fourth season, Richardson is a phenomenal talent who hasn't slowed down since winning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. His sacks (13), quarterback hits (36) and tackles for loss (15) trail only Wilkerson among Jets players since 2014. The duo forms the core of New York's stellar defensive front, which earned a spot as the league's second-best in Gregg Rosenthal's ranking of the NFL's top 12 defensive lines.

Richardson's ban immediately ups the pressure on second-year tackle Leonard Williams to pick up the slack in Week 1. Once Richardson returns, though -- assuming Wilkerson is back in the fold -- this Jets' D-line will still be seen as one of the best in the business.

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