As if the Seahawks needed any more bad news, linebacker Mychal Kendicks was suspended by the league today. It’s another tough blow for a reeling defense.
When linebacker K.J. Wright went down with an injury after the final preseason game, the Seahawks were in another tough spot. They soon found that neither Shaquem Griffin nor Austin Calitro were quite ready to step into such a big role. Both players have bright futures, but taking over for a player of Wright’s caliber needs a little more experience than a rookie can deliver – even a pair of talented rookies. So the Seattle brought in Mychal Kendricks in a controversial move. He helped them to two wins, but his time with the Seahawks could be done.
Kendricks had appealed a pending suspension by the NFL, as he earlier plead guilty to insider trading. Apparently Kendricks missed the memo that white collar crime isn’t the in thing these days. Regardless, he lost that appeal today. Now the Seahawks find themselves short another big contributor on defense.
Just how big, you ask? Plenty. In just three games, Kendricks piled up 13 tackles, two assists and two sacks. Stretch that into a sixteen game season and you have 69 tackles and 11 sacks. He had 16 sacks for his entire career coming into this season, so it isn’t likely he’d have kept up that pace. For one thing, K.J. Wright should be back soon. Kendricks would have been relegated to running in special packages anyway.
Seahawks really could have used another week of Kendricks
But Wright isn’t back yet. With the Los Angeles Rams coming up, this isn’t the best time to lose Kendricks. The great Bob Condotta reported in today’s Seattle Times on Wright’s status. From coach Pete Carroll,
"Carroll said Monday that Wright was “stepping up his workouts. We’ll know more later in the week here (as to) where he is, but he is running and so he’s on the road back now. I can’t tell you when that’s going to happen.”"
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As it stands now, Austin Calitro will get the starting spot next to middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. We can only hope he’s benefited from the extra weeks, as Kendricks was clearly playing better than any alternative the Seahawks have on their roster. He made a pretty big impact in those three games.
As for Kendricks, I can’t say he’s getting a raw deal from the NFL. He committed a crime, and admitted to it. White collar crime or not, when you’re guilty, you should be punished. Just because your team benefits from leniency doesn’t make it right.
That being said, if the league decides to lift the suspension after several games, I’m okay with that too. Kendricks will face his penalty in January at sentencing. After that, his career will almost certainly be over, as sentencing guidelines typically call for four to five years imprisonment.
At least he finally had the character to admit his guilt. It doesn’t make him a hero by any means, but I believe he’s trying to honestly make amends for his acts. Mr. Kendricks, it was fun watching you on the field while it lasted.