The Riders took a chance on receiver Jamel Richardson and so far, it’s paying off.
Even though Richardson hasn’t been a highlight-reel machine nor has he led the team in receiving on any given day, he’s quietly gone about his business and has been effective along the way.
After missing two seasons with ongoing knee issues, just being on the field every game is a step forward for Richardson – the yardage being a bonus.
“It’s really showing me that hard work really pays off,” said Richardson.
“Just being patient and having faith in yourself to go out there and make that play, it’s making me a lot more confident.”
Nowhere is that confidence more evident than when it comes to Richardson’s knees. When coming back from not one, but two major knee injuries, it can be difficult to get over that mental hurdle.
Now, Richardson has cleared that hurdle and it’s allowing him to play the game at a faster speed then he was earlier in the year.
“It’s stable. I’m ready to go. I’m not thinking about my knee. I’m just thinking about my assignments and what I need to do to help this team win,” he said.
Richardson made his presence known during the Riders first game of the season with six catches. Those numbers haven’t been repeated since but Richardson does sit third on the team in receiving yards with 159.
The ceiling for Richardson isn’t really clear at this point as he continues to push himself further and harder every week to see just how much his body can take.
One thing we did learn last week against the Lions is Richardson can still go up and get a football.
“That’s what I wanted to tell my quarterback. Regardless of what’s going on out there, if he can just throw it up there I’m going to make that play,” he said.
Earlier this year, head coach Corey Chamblin suggested that Richardson had to reinvent himself. It’s a process the coach feels is coming along nicely.
“I think he has redefined himself. He’s not playing all the snaps, he’s still adjusting to that role and he’s doing a good job in that role,” he said.
“If he starts thinking any bigger he maybe doesn’t get that same production he’s getting.”
Whether Richardson can make it through the entire season has yet to be seen; he’s already proven to his critics, and more importantly himself, that he can still do it.