A Crossroads Moment … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Barry Richardson was at the crossroads of his young NFL career.

The third-year tackle came out of pre-season game No. 1 in Atlanta with a right leg injury. Specifics on the health of players are not something the Chiefs ever provide and this injury came at a time before NFL regulations required them to issue an injury report.

When a 6-foot-6 guy is walking around the practice field with a limp, it doesn’t take a medical degree to understand he’s injured. That was August 15, two days after the loss to the Falcons. Richardson spent time on August 16 in the rehab area while practice was going on.

But on August 17, other offensive linemen had fallen along the way and the number of blockers available was at a minimal number. That was the day the coaching staff moved DE Bobby Greenwood to offensive tackle. And it was the day when the limping Richardson returned to practice.

Since then, nobody on the Chiefs team was on the field for more snaps in the final pre-season games than Richardson. When starting right tackle Ryan O’Callaghan went down on August 24th with a groin injury in practice, the still ailing Richardson was forced into to the starting lineup. He got starters snaps at right tackle against the Eagles, and then worked at left tackle in the fourth quarter. In the pre-season finale against the Packers, he spent time again playing right, and then left tackle.

And there’s a good chance on Monday night he’ll be in the starting lineup at right tackle when the Chiefs open the regular season against the San Diego Chargers.

“My job is to step in at left or right (tackle) wherever they need me,” Richardson said in the Chiefs locker room. “Right now they need me at right tackle.

“Coming back (from his injury) was difficult, but since then it hasn’t been too bad.”

For any player in the NFL, the goal is to be needed. To reach that spot, a player has to have the all-important, No. 1 trait in the minds of the coaches – availability. When he was off in the rehab area, Richardson was not available. When he dragged himself back on to the practice field, he became available and needed.

“He came to a crossroads where he was kind of beat up but we needed him,” said head coach Todd Haley. “He wanted to show us that he’s continuing to take steps to improve. He got in there and he played probably more snaps than anybody else played in the pre-season.

“He’s fighting through some bumps and bruises and he has continued to make improvement.”

Where he’s impressed Haley and his staff is the toughness he showed by getting off the rehab team and back into practice, and then carrying that into the rest of the pre-season games. There’s no question he could have stayed out of practice; he could probably do that right now.

“I saw it as an opportunity to show them my toughness, that I could contribute when injured,” acknowledged Richardson.

There have always been some doubts about Richardson and his toughness. He’s a quiet, easy going guy out of South Carolina. He is seldom heard from in the locker room other than individual conversations he has with his offensive line mates or those who locker around him.

In fact what raises his hackles is the idea that because he has a quiet personality, he’s not tough enough.

“I don’t think a guy’s personality off the field should effect what coaches think about him on the field and his actions,” said Richardson.

The Chiefs have not yet released an injury report for the Monday night game but O’Callaghan was not a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. Richardson was. Three weeks ago that fact might have really worried the coaching staff. After all the playing time that Richardson has gotten and what he did with it, they are not so worried.

“Those are the critical guys for us because you can’t fill every hole you have so we need to have our second, third and fourth, even fifth-year guys to continue to develop, make progress and help us to be better,” said Haley. “He’s one of those guys. He’s getting better.”


  • BILLS – released TE Derek Schouman (knee) in an injury settlement.
  • COLTS – claimed OT Joe Reitz off waivers from the Dolphins; released injured OL Tony Ugoh (toe).
  • DOLPHINS – signed RB Clifton Smith, previously with the Buccaneers.
  • RAIDERS – signed DT Jay Alford, last with the Giants; released OT Erik Pears.
  • SAINTS – re-signed TE Tory Humphrey; released CB Leigh Torrence.
  • TEXANS – released K Kris Brown in an injury settlement.

6 Responses to “A Crossroads Moment … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 9, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Richardson gets a Gold Star from me. Tough guys who swear off pain to play the game are what made the NFL what it is today. Injured players who choose not to play (because of pain) are a dime a dozen.
    I recall that last year Waters, D Williams, Flowers & Charles all played through the pain with their injuries. No whining, no rehab, no stationary bikes. We as fans did not even know they played injured until this year.
    Richardson is one of those guys, Haley’s guy & to me, a fans guy.
    Monday will be here soon…
    Go Chiefs.

  • September 9, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Agreed Jimbo!
    And I’ll add that if he becomes a “starter” or major contributor, we can give credit to Haley and the coaching staff for getting him there, however that happened!

  • September 9, 2010  - cupp says:

    God help us

  • September 9, 2010  - Edward says:

    Richardson is good example of a guy developing into a real good player. That’s why fans need to be patient with Tjax and Alex Magee. Like Richardson early in their career their not world beaters but with time and development whether the light bulb comes on this season or the next trust me planning for coaches like Haley and Romeo Crennell it eventually will.

  • September 9, 2010  - Michael says:

    Watching Richardson’s play through the preseason was impressive. The Chiefs could, and have, done a lot worse. He may actually turn out to be pretty good, and make it hard for O’Callaghan to get back in the lineup. Pass-blocking still needs a little work (as Haley said, he’s getting better), but run-blocking was quite good.

  • September 10, 2010  - Jeremias says:

    -> Edward
    Bad example. Richardson was a 6th round pick that ended up there because he regressed pretty much his entire college career despite having loads of potential.
    Tyson was a 3rd ovr. selection and Magee a 3rd rd. pick, there are no comparison. Money rounds and trash rounds.

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