Embattled Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson had a chance to make 2017 a clean slate between himself and an organization that was, up until a few weeks ago, trying to trade him.

Instead, he used one of his first public speaking opportunities of the new league year to throw shade at former teammate Brandon Marshall, whom Richardson verbally sparred with throughout 2016. Refreshers on their feud can be found here and here.

During a gaggle with reporters Tuesday, Richardson said the “locker room is a whole lot easier to get along with now.”

He joked, when asked why: “Let’s just say we’ve got 15 reasons why it’s better.”

For all those amateur detectives out there, 15 is Marshall’s number.

Given that Marshall plays for the New York Giants now, the comments won’t take long to turn from spark to flame. Perhaps Richardson planned it that way all along. Maybe he simply enjoys the frantic game of verbal tennis that is about to ensue. Clearly joking, he might not have anticipated how his comments would be interpreted.

But for the Jets, this has to be another disappointing check in Richardson’s folder. He already has been suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy (one game, 2016) and its policy on substances of abuse (four games, 2015). Richardson also was benched last season in November. His comments seem harmless and funny, though a team waiting for Richardson to turn the corner might think otherwise.

One could see how Marshall’s grandfatherly act could wear thin — Odell Beckham might find out the hard way — but it seems like the Jets want nothing more than for Richardson to fall in line and start performing up to his capabilities. When healthy, the Jets have one of the top three defensive lines in football, though Richardson went from 11.5 sacks in his first two years to 6.5 in the last two. A renaissance both off and on the field could earn him a lucrative deal from a team looking to utilize his versatility and interior pass-rushing skills once his fifth-year option term is up.

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