FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sheldon Richardson sat on the stool in front of his locker for several minutes, head down, just staring at his cell phone.
The look on his face said it all. He couldn't believe he had been passed over for Pro Bowl selections.
And neither could his coach.
"If it kept him out of the Pro Bowl because some guy had 'X' amount of sacks, and that guy can't hold his jock, to be honest with you, as a player, I think that is kind of strange to me," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday. "I guess you guys will figure out who I am talking about. I see the tapes. [Richardson] deserves to be in there, there is no doubt about it."
Ryan wouldn't name names, but it appears he was referring to Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald has eight sacks this season, one more than Richardson's team-high seven.
The other five defensive tackles selected for the Pro Bowl were Gerald McCoy (Bucs), Ndamukong Suh (Lions), Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus (both of the Bills) and Dontari Poe (Chiefs).
Richardson, the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, was named as an alternate. But that was of little comfort to the second-year tackle, who recently was voted the Jets' MVP by his teammates.
"I might have to break the [single-game sacks] record for me to get some recognition," said Richardson, who recorded three sacks against Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater three weeks ago. "I might have to get eight, break Derrick Thomas' record."
Ryan said Richardson likely was overlooked because of the Jets' 3-12 record.
"I was kind of shocked that he didn't get in," said Ryan, who stressed that Richardson gladly does "the dirty work'' on the D-line. "I really believed that he would get in there. If you are just basing things on sack totals and all that, you have to look at the big picture."
Ryan added: "Clearly, the guys missed on Sheldon Richardson . . . This guy deserves to be in there. There's no doubt about it.''
Richardson didn't disagree.
"I told you, I'm one of the best defensive linemen in the game. That's how I feel,'' he said, vowing to never miss another Pro Bowl. "I'm only getting better, baby. I'm only getting better.''