Jets DE Sheldon Richardson took a swipe at former teammate Brandon Marshall on Tuesday after the Jets' first day of OTAs.
While answering a question regarding whether he wanted to remain with the Jets (he does), Richardson said the "locker room is a whole lot easier to get along with now."
After being asked why the locker room is better, Richardson said "let's just say there are 15 reasons why it's better." Marshall wore No. 15 with the Jets.
The room burst into laughter, Richardson said "that's enough, I'm out of here," and walked away.
In an interview with Newsday, Marshall had no reaction to Richardson's comments. Instead, he expressed his gratitude for being a Giant.
"Last year was an extremely difficult season for all of us," Marshall said. "It was disappointing, but now it's a fresh year for Sheldon, for myself, for the Jets and now I'm a Giant and I'm so excited for this opportunity."
Cut by the Jets this offseason, Marshall signed a two-year deal with the Giants worth $11 million.
Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson were the public face of the dysfunction that engulfed the Jets' locker room last season. Both are alpha personalities. Clearly they didn't get along. And as the losing mounted they weren't shy about showing that, both privately and publicly.
So yeah, it's easy to see why Richardson has "15 reasons" why the Jets' locker room is a better place without Marshall. Just like it's a good bet Marshall has 91 reasons to be happier now that he plays for the Giants.
Childish shots aside, separating these two is a good thing for both sides. The rift between them had grown too wide, and it surely would've taken the locker room down with them again this season. Marshall has a speak-your-mind leadership style that was fine when the Jets were winning, but rubbed far too many of his teammates the wrong way last season. And Richardson is a stubborn, stand-your-ground man who wasn't willing to take anything he perceived as critical of him.
That's apparently how this all started, back in Week 3 last season, when the Jets were blown out and Marshall said something on the sidelines that Richardson took as a shot at the defense. According to sources, an argument that started on the bench spilled over to the locker room where eventually the two had to be separated.
It happened again in Week 16, after a 41-3 loss in New England on Christmas Eve. Marshall publicly said the Jets should be embarrassed, to which Richardson responded "He should be embarrassed." When the season mercifully ended a week later, Richardson was asked about the locker room dysfunction and he took one more shot at Marshall saying "A cat's true colors came out. That's pretty much that."
Their relationship, as Darrelle Revis famously noted, left "a dark cloud" over the entire team all season long.
So let them get their shots in again. It makes for good TV and good copy. It certainly will lead to some interesting questions (and perhaps answers) when the Giants open their OTAs to the media for the first time on Thursday.
In the end, though, sending these two to opposite sides of this football town is a good thing for everybody. Marshall's leadership style might be better suited for a winning team like the Giants, where they already have some strong leaders and don't necessarily need him to be the loudest voice. And with Marshall gone, Richardson will be calmer, which will give Todd Bowles a fighting chance to regain control of his locker room.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can look forward to Aug. 26 when the meaningless annual preseason game between the Jets and the Giants takes place. That overhyped bore of a matchup just got a little added juice.