NFL players come and go, but running back Jalen Richard has been part of the Las Vegas Raiders for five years. It hasn’t been easy and the odds were against him as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. Nevertheless, he’s just one of four players that remain with the team since 2016, his rookie year.
Looking back at the NFL’s 2016 season, Richard’s first
Heading into Week 2, it must feel like deja vu for Richard. It was precisely back in 2016 when he scored his first ever touchdown, a 75-yard run against the Saints. To date, it’s the Golden’s Eagle standout’s longest touchdown… and carry. All in all, he had 83 carries for 491 yards and one touchdown in 2016, arguably his best year as a pro stats wise.
Although Richard hasn’t had as many carries in later years, he’s shown he’s an asset in the passing game. As a matter of fact, he had a career-high 68 passes for 607 yards 2018. Moreover, he’s been excellent at pass blocking and the Raiders knew how valuable his contributions are that they gave him a two-year $7 million contract in the offseason.
Something that makes Richard’s deal more surprising is the fact he’s one of the few players that were brought in during former general manager Reggie McKenzie’s tenure that got a second contract. In fact, he’s just one of four players that remain from the Raiders’ 2016 team. The others are quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson. Together they form the Silver and Black’s veteran core.
Richard is grateful for his tenure with the Raiders
In a league that actively discards players, Richard’s career deserves recognition. After all, the average career span for an NFL player is three years. Looking back at his time in the league, the fifth-year running back is grateful. Richard said in his lastest press conference that he’s aware of the reality of playing in the NFL. He also mentioned that it’s a blessing to be able to play for with the same organization for five years.
When I look around, it allows me to not take this for granted. I understand that in this league, there is a revolving door, and every year, they want to see improvement, they want to see production and if you aren’t doing those things you won’t be around long. I have just been blessed to be on one team for five years.
Richard is right, NFL players constantly change teams, one day they sign and they get the boot the following one. That isn’t Richard’s case and in fact, he will be able to play against the Saints once again on a Silver and Black uniform.
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Top Photo: Las Vegas Raiders Official YouTube channel