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Kevin Stefanski Reacts To Sheldon Richardson's Release

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on Sunday in New York.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks on in the third quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 27, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns' signing of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last week necessitated the release of veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

The move cleared $11 million in cap space and sent the 30-year-old Richardson to the open market. He remains unsigned as of today, but will surely catch on with a team sooner rather than later.

In fact, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on Tuesday that he hopes to possibly have Richardson back in the fold if it works out financially.

“There’s some salary cap constraints that I think everybody understands and they’re hard decisions and Sheldon in particular, played really productive football for us and he played through injuries, and he took great pride in getting to the playoffs for the first time in his career,” Stefanski said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “So he was a big part of that. I hope there’s a scenario [where he can come back] but those are the hard decisions that are made. I really want to point out that Sheldon was such a big part of what we did last year.”

The Browns signed Richardson to a three-year, $39 million contract in March 2019 when the former New York Jets first-round pick was coming off a productive 2018 season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Richardson was a steady presence on the middle of Cleveland's defensive line the past two seasons, starting 31 of a possible 32 games. He recorded 126 tackles, 7.5 sacks, seven passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

In eight career seasons, Richardson has tallied 461 tackles and 31 sacks along with 10 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.