Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson and former Jets and current Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall have been taking verbal jabs at each other related to how the Jets' 2016 season unraveled.
Marshall and Richardson were first involved in an argument following the Jets' 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3 last year when the two were yelling at each other in the locker room. Both of them downplayed the incident afterward, however the two have been going back and forth at each other for the past 10 months.
"That's locker-room business. "That's what it's supposed to be."
Marshall chalked it up to how players and teams should act following a loss:
"I think the thing that's so hard to do in sports is, it's so emotional, you put so much into it and you have so many alpha males in one room, it can be hard to communicate, at times, when you're fresh off disappointment."
The two sides came to blows again during the Jets' 41-3 loss to the New England Patriots. While New York trailed 27-0 at halftime, Marshall gave an impassioned halftime speech that ended up splitting the locker room. Marshall was trying to fire up the locker room, but some players, including Richardson, did not take it that way.
Marshall said of his speech:
"We were getting our butts kicked and I was trying to get guys to respond, but not everyone responds to certain things the same way."
While Marshall recorded two catches for 28 yards in the game, Richardson told reporters that the veteran wide receiver "should be embarrassed."
"He should be embarrassed. ... There's no reason. He just should be. ... It's cool, bro. It's irrelevant. Scratch that comment. Yeah, it's embarrassing to lose like that."
On the first Monday after the season, Marshall reflected at what went right and what he thought he could have done better.
"I think I did a great job this year. Now in retrospect there may have been a time or two where, after games there's so much emotions, so if you approach a situation with calmness and a cool head, it doesn't mean the next man will. You've got to be able to not only understand where you're at, you've got understand where the next man's at. ... I think in retrospect I could work on my timing. But I'm totally fine with my approach this year. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, my only motive is to win ball games. I'm tired of watching the playoffs on my couch."
However, the next day, Marshall spoke more candidly on Showtime's "Inside the NFL."
"The best way I can describe it is, having a diaper on and never changing it. And just sitting in that diaper the whole year. That's how our year was. It was a bad year.
"When I first kind of had a feeling of shock was after the Kansas City game. You know, I think we all came into the season with high expectations. We understood the challenges that we were going to face with the tough schedule-the toughest schedule in all of football probably. We thought that we would have a top five defense. We thought that our offense will be better because it was our second year around. We had amazing chemistry the year before. [We] broke a lot of records and did some amazing things. So, I felt like that was the game we were like, 'Wow. Maybe we aren't as good as we thought we were.'"
Marshall also addressed his relationship with Richardson on Showtime:
"I'm very disappointed. I have no ill will towards Sheldon. That's my teammate. I think he is a hell of a player. And since the first day I stepped foot on campus this guy has done nothing but to try to be the best person that he can be and the best football player he can be. The way I look at it, unless you've gone through it, I can't explain the type of environment it is in a losing building. It's so toxic. I can't explain it and I give people grace because I was on the other side. And I'm still on the other side sometimes when I make mistakes. And the way people deal with problems are different. And for Sheldon, there's so much tension. There's so much pressure on all of us. And people handle things differently. For me, it's more about how do we pick up the pieces and move forward."
The Jets released Marshall in early March and he signed with the Giants about a week later.
After the Jets' first days of organized training activities in May, Richardson spoke about the atmosphere in the Jets' locker room and took another shot at Marshall.
"I enjoy being here. Locker room is a whole lot easier to get along with now. ... Let's just say we've got 15 reasons why it's better."
Asked about Richardson's comments the next day at Giants OTAs, Marshall responded:
"You know what? It was the third or fourth time that we have gone down that path. And like I said, it was tough year for us, and in the National Football League, it is not unique. We had high hopes coming off of that first year that we were all together in 2015 and it kind of blew up in our face, so we were all disappointed. ... Last year was an extremely difficult season for all of us. 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."
In July, Marshall said he requested his release knowing the Jets were going to tank in 2017, something Matt Forte said in June that the team would not do. Said Marshall:
"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance."
Forte said in July he believes the Jets have a better locker room environment this season and thinks the team is closer together.
"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win."
Forte then responded to Marshall's comments regarding the Jets' alleged tanking:
"It doesn't matter. He's not here. He hasn't been here the whole offseason or whatever, so he doesn't know what chance we have or anyone has. So that's Brandon speaking on Brandon. That's about all I have to say on that."
When the Jets opened training camp, Richardson was asked about Marshall's comments saying the Jets didn't have a chance. He responded:
"Who? I haven't heard that name in a while. I don't care what that guy says."
Richardson kept the words going, saying he is "definitely" ready to face Marshall for the first time during the Jets-Giants preseason game on Aug. 26.
On Monday, Richardson spoke more about his feud with Marshall on "The Michael Kay Show," shining some light as to what went down in the locker room:
"Guys didn't address the situation at hand that needed to be addressed to him because of who he was as far as media perspective wise, and how guys kinda carried him on the team a little bit.
That whole situation was sticky because we lose and he did little things that were drama queenish. Dogging out this guy, that guy. It's everybody's fault except his. And there's a reason this, a reason that, and everybody pointing the finger when you losing, and then no one wants to say something to him. Then I say something to him, and I'm the criminal, the bad guy, and the media just ran with it.
That man knows what he did to the locker room a little bit. And I was the one who addressed that. And still will address it to this day. So if he can't come out to the media and tell them what he did and how he actually quit on this team well before the season was over, well that's all in itself."
At Giants training camp on Tuesday, Marshall will likely be asked about Richardson's comments again. And so it goes.