RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks is eager to get back to the normalcy provided by life on a football field.
Kendricks, 28, is returning from an eight-game suspension due to violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy stemming from guilty pleas to insider trading charges in September. Kendricks pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
“This is my escape,” Kendricks said Saturday. “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.”
Football wasn’t the only thing he has lost. He says he has lost friendships since his issues became public this summer.
“Deep down, I’ll never truly know who is with me or not, but I can tell there’s a shift in energy between those who know me,” he said. “Those who aren’t supposed to be in my life won’t be. And through hard situations like this, that sifts out.”
Kendricks was released by the Cleveland Browns after the charges were filed in late August. The Seahawks signed Kendricks after a season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos as Shaquem Griffin and Austin Calitro struggled to replace an injured K.J. Wright at weak-side linebacker. He played in three games — making two starts — and recorded 15 total tackles and two sacks prior to his suspension.
Kendricks was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Oct. 2. The league eventually settled on an eight-game suspension after reviewing the matter and speaking with Kendricks.
With Wright again out while addressing ongoing problems with his knee, Kendricks’ return could be a significant boost for the Seahawks’ stretch run. He has been allowed to practice with the team for the last two weeks, but was not eligible to play until Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
“He looks really good on the practice field,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Like 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 that adds to it. So, 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.”
His return to the field comes against his brother, Eric, who plays linebacker for the Vikings.
“It is special in the sense that during a hard time like this you lean on those that love you,” Mychal Kendricks said. “You lean on those that have been there all your life and it’s emotional coming back. What better way to come back than to play a loved one.”
He faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced in January.
“That part is inevitable and I probably won’t speak on that,” he said, noting he is focusing on staying rooted in the present.
“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.”
Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (hip) will be a game-time decision due to a hip injury. He was unable to practice during the week. . RB Rashaad Penny (ankle) and FB Tre Madden (chest) are also listed as questionable.