The Browns made a difficult decision late last week to cut starting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. It’s a move that has proven largely unpopular with the fans and received some raised eyebrows around the league.
But the book on Richardson in Cleveland might not be fully written just yet.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski left the door open for the team to bring back Richardson in 2021. In his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, Stefanski noted it was a salary cap-related move and nothing against Richardson the player. In fact, Stefanski sounded very much like he hopes Richardson doesn’t take it too hard and returns to Cleveland.
“As a coach, I want to keep everybody. There are salary cap restraints, as everyone understands, and these are hard decisions,” Stefanski said. “I hope that there’s a scenario (to bring him back).”
It’s not a move that would appear to be imminent, not with the NFL draft next week. Richardson has yet to publicly indicate what his plans are for 2021 since his release.
Stefanski did note that recently signed Jadeveon Clowney can fill at least some of the snaps lost with Richardson’s release. Richardson played over 775 snaps on defense in each of his two seasons in Cleveland, almost all of them at tackle. He registered 64 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 799 reps in 2020.