Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mychal Kendricks pleads guilty to insider trading

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Four years ago, Mychal Kendricks was involved in insider trading during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. The linebacker admitted as much in a statement Wednesday after he received federal charges for a scheme that reportedly netted Kendricks and Black-ish writer Damilare Sonoiki nearly $1.2 million.

On Thursday, Sep. 6, Kendricks pleaded guilty to insider trading and now faces up to 25 years in prison. He’ll be sentenced in January.

But while he waits, he’ll be playing for the Seattle Seahawks, who scooped him up on a one-year deal and plan to immediately toss him into their Week 2 lineup, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kendricks, 27, spent the first six seasons of his NFL career with the Eagles. He played 85 games for Philadelphia and earned a Super Bowl victory, but when did he get busted? As soon as he joined the Cleveland Browns.

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“While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions,” Kendricks said.

It isn’t clear when the federal investigation that landed Kendricks in hot water began, but it likely started long before the Browns signed the linebacker in June. The team even knew about the federal investigation when they signed him, but were led to believe he wasn’t the subject of the probe. The team only just found out about the trouble that Kendricks has found himself in, and it led them to release him, hours after news of his charges broke.

“Prior to signing Mychal, we were informed that there was a financial situation that he had been involved with in 2014,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “We were told Mychal had fully cooperated with investigators as a victim. From what was communicated at that time and based on the numerous questions we asked and further due diligence on our part, including checking with the league office, there was no information discovered that conveyed otherwise.

“Recently, we were provided an update on the matter and the circumstances have changed. We are now dealing with a different set of facts and the additional information we’ve gathered has led us to the decision to release Mychal from our team. Due to the ongoing legal nature of this situation, we will have no further comments.”

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His release likely won’t be the end of his punishment, though. The NFL Personal Conduct Policy lists “crimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering” as prohibited conduct that could result in a suspension.

It’s kind of uncharted territory for the league, but it may not matter what the league does. Prison time is a very realistic possibility for Kendricks. When he gets charged in January, he may never again be available to be on an active roster to serve a punishment from the league.

The conclusion to this story for Kendricks is up in the air, but for the Browns it means they’ll now be without one of their free agent additions and for the Seahawks it means they have a very temporary linebacker solution.

The Browns have awful luck

It’s easy to point and laugh at Cleveland, but really sometimes their bad luck is remarkable.

Plenty of it is self-inflicted thanks to the ineptitude of Jimmy Haslam, a team owner who willingly brought back Hue Jackson for another go as head coach after one win in two years. But then something like Kendricks’ legal trouble will remind you the universe is out to get the Browns, too.

Kendricks finding a new way for the Browns to hear bad news is very on brand.

That said, it’s not quite a disaster.

The Browns’ defense is going to be fine

While Kendricks was a starter for years in Philadelphia, the Browns have a solid group of linebackers with Jamie Collins, Joe Schobert, and Christian Kirksey. Before Kendricks was ruled out against the Lions, he was second on the depth chart at SAM behind Collins.




Even without Kendricks, the Cleveland defense looks like it has the pieces in place to be a really good unit in 2018.

In its last outing, the Browns shutout the Eagles to earn a 5-0 win. Kendricks had one tackle in the victory, while other players including rookie linebacker Genard Avery, stood out more.

Kendricks has had a 2018 to remember

Less than 24 hours before news broke of his federal charges, Kendricks’ thoughts on a few of his former Eagles teammates raised eyebrows. On HBO’s Hard Knocks, he implied quarterback Nick Foles doesn’t have a great deep ball, tight end Zach Ertz isn’t a good blocker, and it’s not hard to shake the confidence of offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

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In an earlier episode of the show, Kendricks said the Browns have “so much more talent in this room than what I did in Philly, it’s not even funny.”

Kendricks asked to be traded by the Eagles last summer before reluctantly sticking around for what turned out to be a Super Bowl run. Then when he was released and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Kendricks would join the Browns, but the linebacker vehemently denied the report.

Two days later, the Browns made the contract with Kendricks official.

His contract with the Seahawks is a surprise given his guilty plea and cloudy future. It smells a bit of desperation while K.J. Wright nurses a knee injury, but Kendricks could provide some help for Seattle. After that, Kendricks’ future is in the hands of the legal system when he faces sentencing.

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