Mychal Kendricks begins what could be his last run in football

AP

NFL-imposed suspension served, Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks will make his return to the football field on Monday night. And the four regular-season contests plus however many playoff games Seattle plays could be the final act of Kendricks’ career.

Kendricks, currently scheduled to be sentenced on federal insider trading charges on January 24, could be headed to prison for between two and three years.

“Obviously, that’s a thought that stays in the back of your mind but you just take it every day as it is, day by day just like today,” Kendricks told reporters on Saturday regarding his looming incarceration. “I’m going to be where my feet are. I’m not going to harp on the past. I’m not going to predict the future. I’m just going to be right where I’m at so take it day by day.”

Playing football helps keep Kendricks focused on where his feet are.

“This is my escape,” Kendricks said. “Football is everything for me and to have lost that also was very hard. That also was probably the hardest thing, having to walk away from the game that I love from a team that has accepted me. Just wanting to be here and not being able to, hurt.”

Kendricks ultimately was suspended eight games after entering his guilty plea to a white-collar crime, two more than the league’s baseline punishment for domestic violence. Through it all, he has obtained clarity regarding who his true friends really are.

“The hardest part about this is the situation itself,” Kendricks said. “Understanding the severity, the friends that I’ve lost through — no one truly understands the intricacies and that being said, it’s understandable for people to want to waltz away. Deep down, I’ll never truly know who’s with me or not but I can tell. There’s a shift in energy between those who know me. If they truly do know me, then there’s no shift, but it can be a blessing in disguise. Those who aren’t supposed to be in my life won’t be and through hard situations like this, that sifts out.”

While that may be, as Kendricks called it, a silver lining, the dark cloud looms.

“That part is inevitable and I probably won’t speak on that,” Kendricks said.

Kendricks has football to distract him from what would be constant obsession regarding whether he will serve 30 months or 20 months or maybe just one month or maybe no time at all. At a time when some are caught on camera committing violence against others without even being arrested, it’s hard to process Kendricks facing such a lengthy sentence for a situation in which it’s entirely possible that someone preyed on his wealth and naiveté.