In the modern National Football League, running backs are (overused saying coming at you) a dime a dozen. Most teams rely heavily on two or three ball carriers who specialize in different aspects of the position rather than traditional workhorse backs that dominated the league for decades. Great college backs run can out of steam when they finally reach the NFL, coupled with high expectations they might never be meet.
After Trent Richardson starred with the Alabama Crimson Tide, he was selected with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He scored 12 touchdowns as a rookie, then was traded the very next year to the Indianapolis Colts. Richardson struggled and never appeared in an NFL game after the 2014 season, but his most recent job performance has him right back in the mix to finally get another shot.
“This second opportunity is big for me,” Richardson said. “Just to be able to play professional football and just to be back on the field, in that locker room, it’s one of them things where you miss it. The opportunity I have with The Alliance has been a blessing for me, and I can’t ask for more.”
Through his first six games with the Birmingham Iron in the Alliance of American Football, Richardson leads the league in carries (91), rushing touchdowns (9), and total touchdowns (10). He also leads the Iron with 26 catches so far this season.
The biggest knock on Richardson is his inefficiency running the football. Richardson currently ranks 20th in yards per carry (2.5) out of the 21 AAF players with at least 20 touches this year. He ranks ninth in the league with 227 rushing yards in six games.
Still, there are few players better in short yardage and near the goal line than the 229-pound bruiser from Pensacola, Florida. The way he’s performing in 2019, there are going to be NFL teams interested in adding the former unanimous All-American to their roster when training camps begin this summer.
“But you know, in a few months, I definitely hope I’ll be getting a phone call from the big show. And if that opportunity comes, I’ll do everything I can to be that guy. Be the one they talk about having the greatest comeback or, you know, who has the greatest story in football. That’s where I want to be.”
— Trent Richardson, h/t Sports Illustrated
He was one of the best running backs in college football, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting back in 2011 when he had over 2,000 total yards and scored 24 touchdowns. Richardson is only 28 years old, appears to be healthier than ever, and looks like the first-round pick that NFL scouts drooled over when he came out of college.
“If somebody hits me, they gonna have to keep coming because I’m gonna keep coming for them.”
AAF Week 6 Standings
Orlando Apollos (5-1)
Birmingham Iron (4-2)
Atlanta Legends (2-4)
Memphis Express (1-5)
San Antonio Commanders (4-2)
San Diego Fleet (3-3)
Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)