NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who played his first game for the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, is facing some serious jail time after pleading guilty to charges of insider trading on Thursday.
The 27-year-old, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles last season, is now facing up to 25 years in prison following his plea, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kendricks will learn of his fate at his sentencing hearing in December.
During his plea, Kendricks was asked if he understood why he was pleading guilty.
"Because I know I was wrong," Kendricks said, via the Inquirer. "I know that I made the decision to accept information, secret information, and it wasn't the right thing to do."
According to court documents, Kendricks was able to turn an $80,000 investment into nearly $1.2 million in profit due to the fact that he was receiving insider tips from 'Black-ish' TV writer Damilare Sonoiki. Over a period of two years, Sonoiki provided Kendricks with information that allowed him to make a huge profit off of stock options. Basically, Sonoiki gave Kendricks a heads up on four different companies that were going to merge with another company, and Kendricks would purchase stock options before the valuable mergers took place.
On Aug. 29, U.S. attorney William M. McSwain announced that both Kendricks and Sonoiki on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. Kendricks was playing for the Browns on the day he was indicted.
After the indictment came out, Kendricks released a statement where he immediately apologized for the role he played in the scheme.
"I would like to apologize. Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it," Kendricks wrote. "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 was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions."
Despite the apology, the Browns still decided to cut ties with him just a few hours after learning of the charge. Kendricks had only been on the team since June. Although it appears Kendricks let the Browns know some of the details of the situation before he signed in June, it seems like he may have misled the team. According to general manager John Dorsey, Kendricks painted himself as a victim in the case.
"Prior to signing Mychal, we were informed that there was a financial situation that he had been involved with in 2014," Dorsey said in a statement. "We were told Mychal had fully cooperated with investigators as a victim."
With his time in Cleveland now over, there's a good chance Kendricks has played his final down of NFL football. If he's hit with a lengthy prison sentence, it will be pretty much impossible for the 27-year-old to return to the field.