The latest episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks featured former Philadelphia Eagles and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks sharing his insight on his former team as his current one prepared to take them on in a preseason matchup (and what a matchup it was). Kendricks was fair but outspoken concerning some players, including wide receiver Zach Ertz, whom he said “doesn’t want any smoke” when it comes to getting hit.

Kendricks is doing a different kind of talking on Wednesday with the stunning news that he has been charged by federal authorities with insider trading. The former Eagles player was charged alongside Damilare Sonoiki, a Harvard-educated investment banker turned Black-ish writer in an alleged $1.2 million insider trading scheme. According to the Philly Inquirer, Sonoiki was “brazenly passing along insider information” on stock mergers and acquisitions to Kendricks, who used them to make four transactions between 2013 and 2015. In exchange for that info, Kendricks would allegedly provide $10,000 in cash and Eagles tickets back to Sonoiki.

“I would like to apologize. Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it. I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired.  

“His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence.  To this point, I had worked my tail off since I was 5 years old to become a football player.  I was drawn in by the allure of being more than just a football player. While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.  

“Since the beginning of the investigation, I have fully cooperated with the authorities and will continue to do so. I accept full responsibility for my actions. Although I did not take any of the profits for myself, I am committed to repaying all of the funds gained illegally and accept the consequences of my actions.  

 “I sincerely apologize to my coaches, the owners, and my teammates on the Eagles and the Browns, the NFL, and the magnificent fans to whom I owe my career. I also apologize to my family, who I have failed in this. You all deserve better, and I will work my hardest to re-earn your trust and respect, serve as an advocate to educate others, and show you that I will never be involved in anything like this again.”

Both Kendricks and Sonoiki are expected to plead guilty in court later this week. In the meantime, the linebacker will not be playing in the Cleveland Browns’ season opener against the Detroit Lions, per a team announcement.

No word yet what the team or the league will do as it’s something of an unknown area for both.

Kendricks was a second-round draft pick by the Eagles in 2012 and became a starter quickly. He saw his role diminish over time and complained before the 2017 season. The Eagles made him available for a trade but he ended up staying in Philadelphia. The result was fortuitous as starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with a torn Achilles and Kendricks became a key member of the team’s Super Bowl-winning defense. The Eagles released Kendricks this offseason before what would have been the fourth season of a five-year, $29 million extension. He signed with the Browns in June on a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

[Philly Inquirer]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Neighborhoods.com, Curbed Seattle and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.