Mychal Kendricks Jersey

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That’s the price the 5-foot-11, 240-pound linebacker paid for pleading guilty in August to a felony insider-trading charge, admitting he made $1.2 million through four illegal deals in 2014 and 2015 while a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. After being released by the Cleveland Browns, the 28-year-old signed with the Seahawks in September and played in three games before subsequently being suspended by the NFL for the last eight.

Of course, Kendricks could also face 30 to 37 months in prison as a first-time offender, but is expected to be sentenced no earlier than January. Until then, he’s allowed to play, beginning with tonight’s game against the Vikings.

Not necessarily with a clear conscience.

“The hardest part about this is the situation itself — understanding the severity, the friends that I’ve lost,” Kendricks said on Saturday, in his first interview since his suspension ended. “No one truly understands the intricacies [of what happened]. That being said, it’s understandable for people to want to walk away. Deep down, I’ll never know who’s truly with me or not. But I can tell.

“If they truly do know me, then there’s no shift [in loyalty]. But it can be a blessing in disguise. Those who aren’t supposed to be in my life, won’t be.”

During the eight-game suspension, Kendricks’ circle constricted. He trained in the seclusion of Sedona, Ariz. His playbook was taken away. He tried to avoid television, only watching an occasional Seahawks game.
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The season went on without him. The Seahawks won five of their next eight games. His little brother — Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks — piled up 16 tackles in a loss to the Patriots last weekend.

And, like always,Kendricks wasn’t watching.

“Honestly, watching my brother play, it makes me nervous and anxious. So I try not to watch his games,”Kendricks said. ”And every time I don’t watch his games he balls out, so it’s like a superstition of mine.

“He’s still my brother. I want the best for him. So I’m watching it like film. I’m like, ‘You missed that there. You should’ve got that there. Oh, good job there.’ It’s just too stressful for me.”

One thing is certain: Kendricks doesn’t need more stress. He needs football. He needs the sustained support of a second family.

He needs to produce, like he did with 15 tackles and two sacks in his first three games with Seattle.

And, without injured weakside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), the Seahawks need him, too.

“He looks really good on the practice field,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Saturday. “When he played for us we really felt his quickness. You could see the plays that he can make and the savvy that he has.
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“It’s going to be a while before he’s truly comfortable in the playing mode, just because it’s happened so fast. But his awareness really allows him to jump right back in. We’re going to expect him to be active and be part of it and play a lot in the game.”

Monday’s game represents both a return and a reunion of sorts for Kendricks.

“It is special, in the sense that during a hard time like this you lean on those that love you,” Kendricks said of the prospect of playing his brother in his first game back. “You lean on those that have been there all your life. It’s emotional coming back. And what better way to come back than to play a loved one? So it is special.”

Special is a wordKendricks repeated on Saturday. Losing the ability to play simultaneously shifted his perspective.

“I never thought I’d say that the game of football is literally healthy for me,” Kendricks acknowledged. “But there’s something that this game does for individuals like myself, and even those who watch and love the game. We all get together on Sundays — the people who are playing and the people who are watching.

“It’s a special game. A lot of life lessons are learned through the game. Through this life lesson that I’m learning, the game has become even more special.”

Football may be special for Kendricks, but it’s also increasingly fleeting. A potential prison sentence looms. A sustained playoff run with the Seahawks won’t stop it.

So how can he focus on football when the future appears so crushingly bleak?

“That part is inevitable. I probably won’t speak on that,” Kendricks said of his legal situation. “This is my escape. Football is everything for me, you know? To have lost that was very hard. That was probably the hardest thing, to walk away from the game that I love, from a team that has accepted me.”

For the next four games, at least, the Seahawks have accepted him back. Kendricks has a playbook, and a purpose. He’s trying to live in the present, to make his (remaining) friends and family proud.

“What do I visualize?” Kendricks said, repeating a reporter’s question. “Man … making plays, going out there with my boys, competing at an all-time high level, solidifying myself as a Seahawk. I’m just happy to be back.”

Mychal Kendricks Jersey

The Seahawks may have their replacement for K.J. Wright, if they need one.

But first, they have to wait out a prison sentencing.

Seattle has agreed to re-sign veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The former Super Bowl starter for Philadelphia started last season for the injured Wright as the Seahawks’ weakside linebacker—when Kendricks wasn’t suspended, or hurt, that is.

Wednesday’s deal on the first day of the new league year is worth “about $4 million,” according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
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ESPN reported the total, with incentive bonuses, could max out at $5.3 million. At that money, the Seahawks may not be in the market for Wright. He could command $5 million or more himself in free agency.

Kendricks’ sentencing in federal court in Pennsylvania for insider trading was postponed from Jan. 25 to April 4.

His new contract is unlikely to have much money guaranteed, a risk-free fall-back for the Seahawks in case he can’t play in 2019.

Wright, the team’s Pro Bowl veteran, officially became an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career on Wednesday. Coach Pete Carroll has said the Seahawks have been working on re-signing Wright. But the market for Wright, who turns 30 in July, could rise higher than the patient Seahawks want to spend, even in the now-secondary waves of NFL free agency.

Before Kendricks’ sentencing hearing got postponed from January, the team was going to know whether he was getting months or years in prison—or perhaps a suspended sentence and no time in jail—before they made a definitive contract offer to Wright.

Sentencing guidelines in federal court in the eastern Pennsylvania suggest 2 1/2 years for Kendricks’ crime. Some there believe he will strike a plea bargain with prosecutors.

It’s possible the Seahawks have through the NFL and Kendricks’ attorneys a read on a likely length and scope of Kendricks’ punishment for the crime to which he admitted last summer.

The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania charged Kendricks and a bank analyst conspired in a scheme from the summer of 2014 to spring of 2015. The alleged plot gave Kendricks non-public securities information on future investment-bank mergers.

Kendricks admitted last summer in a statement he released through his then-Cleveland Browns that he participated in the scheme.

The Browns subsequently released him without Kendricks playing a regular-season game for them.

The Seahawks signed him the following month, on Sept. 14. That was weeks after Wright had knee surgery, last August. It was also one game after rookie Shaquem Griffin struggled as Wright’s’ fill-in at weakside linebacker, in the opening loss at Denver.

While Wright’s knee issue lingered into November, Kendricks played in four games for Seattle last season. His first of three starts for the Seahawks came in week three against Dallas.

He said he was “blessed” to be playing football again.

He would have started 10 of the 11 games Wright missed in 2018. But Kendricks served an eight-game NFL suspension for the insider trading, from the beginning of October into December. Upon his return he injured his knee and leg starting a game against Minnesota. That put him on injured reserve and required surgery.

Carroll said after Kendricks went on injured reserve the Seahawks wanted to re-sign him for 2019.

“It’s been such a difficult season for Mike. My heart goes out to him,” Carroll said Dec. 12. “He wants to be a part of this thing so badly. But he doesn’t get to this time around. We’ll look forward to getting him back next time and keeping him with us.”

Wednesday’s agreement shows the Seahawks have faith in Kendricks’ recovery from the knee and leg injuries.

They seem to have faith in his dealings with the criminal-justice system in Pennsylvania, too.