Veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has reportedly decided that a return to the Cleveland Browns is not something he is interested in.
That is according to Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com, who cites a league source in saying that Richardson is ready for a fresh start.
DT Sheldon Richardson has decided it's time for a fresh start and won't be re-signing w/ #Browns even though they made him a nice offer, league source tells clevelanddotcom; @JackDay reports he could be headed back to the #Vikings https://t.co/LEmkJ7YIOa— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) June 14, 2021
The lure of the familiar is still strong for Richardson, however, as he is reportedly considering a return to the Minnesota Vikings, where he played in 2018, according to Jack Day of KFAN 100.3 and The Vikings Wire:
I’m hearing that there could be a reunion in store for the #Vikings and free agent DT Sheldon Richardson, per source. Some more good news shaping up for the team’s defensive line ahead of the start of mandatory mini camp tomorrow.— Jack Day (@jack_h_day) June 14, 2021
The Browns released Richardson on April 16 after two seasons. The move opened up around $12 million in cap space for the Browns and came just a few days after the team signed defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in free agency.
There have been rumors for the past two months that the Browns would be willing to bring Richardson back and that he might be open to a return. But that always seemed like a scenario that would only occur if Richardson could not find another team willing to pay him. If he wanted to stay with the Browns at a reduced salary, it is likely that he would have just worked that out rather than go through the hassle of being released.
There is also the fact that the defensive tackle room in Berea is exceedingly crowded at the moment. In addition to second-year player Jordan Elliott, the Browns have brought in Malik Jackson, Sheldon Day, Tommy Togiai, Malik McDowell and Damion Square in the offseason, and are welcoming back Andrew Billings after he opted out of the 2020 season.
Richardson started 31 games with the Browns, and recorded 7.5 sacks, 125 tackles and four forced fumbles. This past season, he was second on the Browns with 51 quarterback pressures and posted a run grade of 76.6, and an overall grade of 68.7, according to Pro Football Focus.