"I know there were a lot of nervous people," said coach Rex Ryan.
The Jets needed three roster spots Sunday after acquiring three players on waivers. They cut wide receiver David Clowney, running back Chauncey Washington and Richardson -- a move that stunned and angered some players. Those players weren't aware of the team's strategy when they made comments to ESPNNewYork.com.
As a vested veteran, Richardson wasn't exposed to waivers. He became a free agent and the Jets were "very confident" they'd be able to re-sign him, Ryan said.
To make room for Richardson's return, the Jets waived rookie cornerback Brian Jackson. They didn't want to release Jackson on Sunday; they wanted to wait until Darrelle Revis' contract was finalized before cutting a cornerback.
By midday, it was apparent that Richardson was coming back. His locker at the Jets' training facility was intact. Everything was still in it, from practice jerseys to shampoo to toothpaste. It didn't look like the locker of a player who was gone for good.
In the end, the one day in limbo didn't cost Richardson any pay. If he had been re-signed after Week 1, he would've lost one game check ($50,000) and the balance of his $855,000 wouldn't have been guaranteed.
Ryan said Richardson will play against the Ravens in the opener.
Some players still were upset that Richardson was used as a pawn in the unconventional chess game. One player said it was a "[crappy]" thing to do. Several said they were stunned when they heard the news late Sunday.
"It was jaw-dropping," said tight end Dustin Keller, who has the locker next to Richardson. "I couldn't believe it. He's our top veteran on offense. If we become the Super Bowl team we want to be, to do it without him would be tough.
"T-Rich has been a mentor to so many guys on this team, especially myself."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.