Jets rookie DL Sheldon Richardson says he’s not going to let up when he hits Tom Brady
|10.18.13 at 11:46 am ET|
FOXBORO — The NFL has often been accused of going out of its way to protect Tom Brady by defensive players who just can’t get to the quarterback in time.
But it’s not often that you see a rookie complaining about it.
But rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson apparently wants to make a name for himself on and off the field. In a back-and-forth interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, Richardson explained why he is so intent on hitting the Patriots quarterback this Sunday.
He recalled a moment with a referee in the first encounter on Sept. 12 when referee Carl Cheffers told him to ease up on Brady.
“I remember a play, a referee made it his business to tell me I was too close to hitting him,” Richardson told Serby. “It gets crazy out there. I got close to him, shoved him a little bit, the referee said, ‘I could’ve threw the flag on you for that.’ ”
Richardson’s response: “He didn’t even fall.”
Then, according to Richardson, Cheffers replied, “It doesn’t matter.”
“Can’t touch Tom Brady unless he’s got the ball in his hand,” Richardson said.
How will he deal with this stark reality on Sunday at MetLife Stadium?
“Not caring,” Richardson told the Post. “Simple as that. Can’t care sometimes, man. If it’s a play where you can make a sack, you’re not going to slow down. You just got to play through it.”
“I’m ready for this game,” he said. “Ready. I’m ready for this game. Sunday can’t come fast enough. Just because it’s the Patriots,” Richardson said. “I’m ready to go get another shot at these guys, it’s Tom Brady. As a defensive lineman, you look to play certain people, and he happens to be one of ’em.”
Richardson did pay respect to the resume Brady has compiled over 13 years.
“He’s a Hall of Famer quarterback,” Richardson said. “He doesn’t make mistakes. It doesn’t matter who his wideouts are, he’s going to win the game, especially when he plays the Jets apparently. So I just can’t wait to play against him again.”
But Richardson couldn’t help himself as he continued.
“They made the Tuck Rule back when? 2000 when? Tom Brady rule, right? OK, a lot of great quarterbacks have hurt a knee before, but now we can’t hit quarterbacks in the knees now ’cause Tom Brady gets hurt [season-ending knee injury in the 2008 season opener]. Doesn’t it seem that way? Right or wrong?
“Why do we make rules after he gets hurt?” Richardson asked. “I don’t know why a bunch of stuff.”
So, why so much focus on protecting Brady?
“’Cause if you take Tom Brady away from the Patriots, they win no more championships,” Richardson said, who was also asked about Peyton Manning. “He only won one. That’s the way it looks like to me, man, you can’t touch him.”
What does Richardson expect on the field Sunday?
“It’s very intense. … Cheap shots and all,” Richardson told Serby. “It’s on film. Go back and watch. You’re going to see a lot of stuff, man, that the Patriots can do to you, that they get away with, that we can’t do to the Patriots. It’s just the way it is.”
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