Jets Pro Bowl DT Sheldon Richardson suspended 4 games for reported marijuana use

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New York Jets learned Thursday that Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson will be suspended for the first four games of the season, throwing a wrench in their offseason preparation. The league announced Richardson violated the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse -- the New York Daily Newsreports that the substance was marijuana.

Richardson released a statement shortly after the suspension was announced:

"I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in the statement. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on."

Jets head coach Todd Bowles also spoke:

"This is disappointing for Sheldon and the team. We're going to support Sheldon and welcome him back upon his return. We will keep moving forward with our preparations for the upcoming season."

Marijuana suspension have been a topic of debate in the NFL recently, after Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon had to sacrifice most of the last two seasons for weed-related punishments. With the drug's increasing legality has come the notion that football players shouldn't have to sacrifice a quarter of their season for a positive test.

The Jets have depth at defensive line, but losing Richardson for this significant stretch won't help them on their quest to return to relevance.

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