Many were surprised by the abrupt decision of the Jets to cut linebacker David Harris. Some of the many included members of the organization.
“It shocked the sh-t out of me,” defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said Tuesday, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “It is a business. But after a while it don’t become a business. Dave wasn’t [greedy]. I know him, so I know he would have taken something [a fair and reasonable pay cut]. I know he wasn’t busting nobody over there. He don’t want to play for free, either.”
It’s easy for Richardson to be candid, given that the team has been trying to trade him for months. He’d probably prefer to be cut, like Harris was.
“It’s like, ‘Come on, man,” Richardson said. “He started here 10 years strong. He’s been here every day. He’s a true pro. It’s the front office, bruh. It was shocking. And he’s the leader of the defense. He’s my quarterback of the defense.”
Linebacker Darron Lee, a first-round pick in 2016, was more discreet in his comments.
“I miss him,” Lee said. “He’s a great mentor and a great leader. I’m still going to consult him. Even though he won’t be around here, I’m still going to ask him for advice and everything. But definitely [it] was a somber day the next day and for the whole defense, really, and for this whole organization and for everybody in here. because Dave was like a dad to all of us, a lot of young guys in here. He was like a father to me.”
Father-figure status and other factors ultimately didn’t keep the Jets from first trying to get Harris to take less and then cutting him loose. The fact that he was offered less could, in theory, leave the door open for a potential return — if Harris has no hard feelings about the way things went down.