Kenrick Ellis spent two seasons as Sheldon Richardson's teammate with the Jets and said the troubled defensive end never exhibited any of the kinds of behaviors that has recently run him afoul of the league and the law.
"We were pretty cool and the defensive line room was pretty close," Ellis, now a Giants defensive tackle, told Newsday on Wednesday. "He was a good kid, has always been a good kid."
Until recently, apparently.
Just three weeks after the NFL suspended Richardson for four regular-season games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the 2013 defensive rookie of the year and 2014 Pro Bowler was charged with resisting arrest and several traffic violations after he fled from Missouri police following a street race on July 14. The league has yet to discipline him for that incident.
Ellis said he hasn't spoken to Richardson and hasn't kept tabs on the charges against him.
"I just saw something about speeding, I didn't read too much," Ellis said. "I'm really focused on where I'm at right now."
But Ellis did say he thinks Richardson will be able to overcome these latest obstacles.
"Everybody makes mistakes, man," Ellis said. "He's young and some make bigger mistakes than others. I can't sit here and judge anybody. It's just, it's a tough situation. He's going to handle it well, he's going to mature and grow from it, and this situation is going to make him a better person."