Jets DT Sheldon Richardson named AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Sheldon Richardson said he wasn't disappointed to be overlooked for one of the big awards at Saturday night's NFL Honors show at Radio City Music Hall.
"Eddie Lacy beat me out," he said of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year vote. "He had a few more touchdowns than I did."
Richardson finished the season with one touchdown, a 1-yard gimmick run in the final game of the season, but he did have 77 tackles and 3.5 sacks, enough to bring home the Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy. He is the first Jet to win the honor since Jonathan Vilma did it in 2005.
Richardson told reporters he believed he had the best season of all defensive rookies when the Jets' season ended. He was less confident about that status as the awards presentation drew closer, though.
"I was surprised," the defensive tackle said. "It was a toss-up to me. It was a tight race."
Richardson pointed to Rex Ryan and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar for helping him have a dominant rookie season.
"With Rex, just knowing how to put us in position to make plays and letting me be me, not putting shackles on my talent," he said. He also noted Dunbar's ability to manage all of the talent on the Jets' defensive line.
Earlier this week, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp was critical of Richardson for being a "run-stuffer in a pass-first league" and not putting up strong sack numbers. Richardson was asked about those comments after receiving his award.
"I have no idea (what Sapp thinks)," he said. "I really don't care at the moment."
Other awards winners included Lacy, the Packers running back, as Offensive Rookie of the Year; Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechley as Defensive Player of the Year and the Panthers' Ron Rivera as Coach of the Year.