CLEVELAND — New Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson described himself as a high-motor player who could make an impact at the line of scrimmage, and that got him selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
But it was a different kind of high-motor situation that got Richardson into trouble with the law and a one-game suspension from the NFL early in his career, as he was pulled over after being clocked doing nearly 150 miles per hour in a 2014 Bentley Silver Spur on a highway close to his offseason home in suburban St. Louis.
“Things back then that impressed me do not impress me now,” Richardson said in a conference call with the Cleveland media last week. “I have a daughter now, so I can’t be doing 150 on the highways anymore. I have a little bit more to live for than just myself now.”
When asked what it was like driving a car, especially a high-end Bentley, 143 miles per hour, Richardson did not hold back on the experience.
“Do you want my honest opinion or do you want it politically correct?” Richardson said with a laugh. “Having a ball until I got arrested … It is all how you look at it. If you think negative, it is negative. If you think positive, it is positive. I just got in trouble for it, so it is negative.
“People have branded me that way in the media. People have been saying that I should not be in the league anymore and all of that. Hey, it is what it is. I never have really tried to impress anybody but myself. You can’t live like that these days.
“My politically correct answer would be I just made mistakes that I won’t make again.”
Despite the past issue, Richardson has made quite the career for himself in the NFL.
In his six-year career, including four with the New York Jets and one each with the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, Richardson played in 89 games and started 87 of those contests at defensive tackle, defensive end, three-technique or linebacker.
A one-time Pro Bowler, Richardson registered 333 total tackles, including 195 solo stops and 138 assists. Of those tackles, 49 went for lost yardage, and he had 76 hits on the quarterback. Also, Richardson recovered five fumbles and collected 23.5 sacks.
And Richardson is out to prove, once again, that he is worth the investment, especially since the Browns are the only team to give him more than a one-year deal since his rookie contract expired after a trade from the Jets to the Seahawks.
“I am not a bad person because I made a bad mistake or just because I made a mistake does not make me a bad person,” Richardson said. “Me personally, I have been past it for a while now. It is just that every time I get traded to another team, something there pops up. I just have to carry it as luggage. That is how I look at it.
“I just grew up, that is all. Simple as that. I was 24 in a Bentley. I was having a good time, and that is it.”