Tuesday, December 19, 2017
BLEACHER REPORT: RICHARDSON'S NFL DREAM STILL ALIVE
By: Gerald Narcisco
Inside a packed Canadian stadium far away from the NFL, Trent Richardson, a man once considered a can't-miss prospect and a favorable comparison to Adrian Peterson, looked like he still might be.
Granted, it was only four games, but donning No. 33 for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, he danced around CFL defenders, and at times, opted to bulldoze over them. Back was the power, the speed, the swagger that made him a star in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Two months in rural and freezing Regina, Saskatchewan—where the average temperature is 36.7 degrees—gave Richardson more joy on a football field than he had experienced in more than five years.
"It was too much fun, man," Richardson, 27, told Bleacher Report in a phone interview. "I appreciate the CFL. I appreciate Saskatchewan. The whole team, man, for what they did for me, I can't never repay them back."
Anyone who has followed Richardson's tumultuous professional career can understand how he can find gratitude and humility in a situation most would consider a step back.
"I have not seen him so excited about football since he was playing for Escambia or when he got drafted," says Derrick Boyd, Richardson's coach at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida, who has remained his mentor. "They say you never miss your water until the well comes dry."
In Canada, gone was the pressure to live up to the high expectations of being a top-three draft pick. Gone was the constant media scrutiny and the "bust" labels assigned to his name every time he was cut by another NFL team. And gone were the friends and family back home in Alabama and Florida looking for handouts.
This time it was just football. This time it was just Trent.
"A big thing for me going to Canada was to get back on the field with a fresh start," Richardson said. "Not a lot of people around me ... just being not distracted and playing football like I usually play football."
But even in isolation, Richardson eventually drew a crowd. In a game against the Montreal Alouettes in late October, he rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The home fans cheered, and teammates were quick to pat him on the back.
Inside his shiny green Roughriders helmet, where his signature dreadlocks spilled out the back, you could catch this typically reserved man flashing a smile. He was back.
"It was almost like it was a rebirth," Richardson said.
READ MORE: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2749275-trent-richardsons-long-journey-back-to-the-nfl-might-not-be-over-yet