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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Old man Richardson still grinding

    Posted on Thu, Aug. 03, 2006

    [size=18px]Old man Richardson still grinding[/size]

    JON KRAWCZYNSKI
    Associated Press


    MANKATO, Minn. - Tony Richardson is old.

    I don't say that because at 35, the Minnesota Vikings fullback is eight years older than I am. I don't say that because the average NFL running back's career lasts about as long as a dozen doughnuts in front of Homer Simpson.

    I can call Richardson old for one simple reason - he will leave Mankato on Friday to head to Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame induction of his former teammate, and former Viking, Warren Moon.

    When guys you used to play with start getting elected to the Hall of Fame, it's a pretty good sign that you're old.

    Richardson is so old that even 37-year-old quarterback Brad Johnson calls him old.

    "For an older guy, he looks like one of the younger guys out there," Johnson said Thursday. "I'm glad we picked him up."

    Richardson is entering his 13th season in the league, not bad for a guy who was undrafted out of Auburn way back in 1994. And it would be hard to find a guy more deserving of some good fortune.

    After spending a year on the Cowboys practice squad, Richardson signed with Kansas City in 1995 and became a teammate of Moon's when the quarterback joined the Chiefs in 1999.

    Five years into his career, that is when Richardson started to learn how to be a pro.

    "He really kind of took me under his wing and tried to show me, obviously the importance of being a pro on the football field, but also taking responsibility in the community off it," Richardson said of Moon.

    Moon threw for more than 8,400 yards and 51 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Vikings, but a broken collarbone in 1996 ultimately spelled the end for him in Minnesota.

    In his three years here, Moon and his former wife Felicia established a chapter of his Crescent Moon Foundation, which awards college scholarships to those in need. Just as in his other cities of employment - Seattle, Houston and Kansas City - Moon also held several charity events in the Twin Cities.

    He has always stressed to his teammates the importance of giving back, and Moon found an attentive and willing student in Richardson, who makes Jerry Lewis look like J.R. Rider.

    Richardson has received numerous awards for his citizenship, including being named Pro Football Weekly's humanitarian of the year in 2003 and an NFL "Good Guy" from 2002-04.

    He participated in a weeklong relief effort in Sri Lanka after the tsunami devastated the region in 2004, works very closely with the Special Olympics and started a program that has donated over 45,000 dictionaries to elementary school kids in Kansas City.

    For all the good that Moon did on the field in his sterling career, perhaps the best work was the influence he had over Richardson as a youngster.

    "When he came in, you can never have enough good guys around you that play at a high level, but also did it off the field," Richardson said of Moon. "He's a guy I really looked up to, still look up to, and lean on for advice."

    Richardson will be listening to Moon one more time on Saturday, when Moon makes his induction speech as the first black quarterback to be enshrined in the Hall.

    "It's the highest moment of his football life, so it's exciting to be a part of that," Richardson said.

    The fullback almost assuredly won't be joining his friend and mentor in the Hall when his career is over, but he's no slouch on the field, either.

    A punishing blocker and versatile offensive threat, Richardson is the first true fullback the Vikings have had in years.

    The Vikings learned of Richardson's talent the hard way. Every year, the Chiefs and Vikings get together early in training camp for a scrimmage. And Richardson made quite an impression when he wore red.

    "I remember when he came down for those scrimmages, he knocked some heads around a few times and you could hear him across the field sometimes," Jim Kleinsasser said. "It's exciting to have him out there."

    Richardson will miss the 2006 version. The Chiefs will be in Mankato on Friday night for the scrimmage, but he will already be in Canton for the ceremony.

    It's no biggie to him. Richardson knows there will be more scrimmages, but only one time to be there for his friend.

    "I'm honored that Coach Childress and the organization is going to allow me to go down and support Warren Moon," Richardson said. "I'll see those guys again sometime."

    The Chiefs, undoubtedly, are hoping the next time they run into him is at a charity function or a dinner party, not on the field.

    Jon Krawczynski can be reached at [email protected]

    Old man Richardson still grinding

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006

    [size=18px]Richardson is 'great pickup'[/size]
    Fullback will be key in West Coast offense

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    MANKATO, Minn. — For the first time in five years, fullback is back in the Vikings' offense, and the new starter arrives with a set of gaudy credentials.

    Résumés can be a tricky business with this team, but Tony Richardson has a long list of qualifications, including two Pro Bowls, a proven record of pairing with 1,000-yard rushers and a ringing endorsement from a soon-to-be hall of fame quarterback.

    "He was one of those great leadership, great locker-room guys," Warren Moon, a teammate of Richardson's with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1999-2000, said in a conference call this week. "One of the hardest workers on the team, he has really made himself into an all-pro player over the last three or four years."

    Moon doesn't have to sell the Vikings, who have excused Richardson from tonight's practice against the Chiefs so he can fly to Canton, Ohio, for Moon's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

    In need of a true fullback for their new West Coast offense after four seasons in former coach Mike Tice's two-tight end scheme, the Vikings went out and got whom they consider one of the best in the game.

    Take that from quarterback Brad Johnson, who has been praising Richardson since the start of training camp.

    "That has probably been one of the most important moves that we made in this offseason," Johnson said, "especially in this system. … He's going to get the job done and be a force for us. He's a great pickup."

    Richardson came to the Vikings after 11 years in Kansas City, where he helped running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson rack up four of the top five single-season rushing performances in team history.

    Tight under the salary cap, the Chiefs were forced to let some players become free agents during the offseason, and Richardson decided the best fit was Minnesota and the West Coast offense in which he had his most productive seasons statistically.

    Not that any player at his position puts much stock in statistics.

    "I think in any offense, the fullback has to want to go in there and hit somebody," Richardson said. "There's benefits if you can catch the football and run a little bit. But a natural fullback just goes in there and basically smacks them in the face. You've just got to have heart and want to do it. Everything else you can coach, but that dog that's inside of a fullback, you can't coach that."

    True fullbacks are a rare breed in the NFL these days, but Richardson will be called on to catch some passes in coach Brad Childress' version of the West Coast offense, in addition to his primary job of blocking for running back Chester Taylor.

    That's a lot to ask of a player who will turn 35 in December, but Richardson said he feels he still has a lot of football left in him.

    Just don't expect him to play as long as his good friend Moon, who logged 17 NFL seasons after six in the Canadian Football League.

    "I feel fortunate to be here now, standing here going into 13 years," Richardson said. "I just take it every day. Someone asked me the other day, and I said, 'I'm just living a dream.' … I never really put a number on it. As long as I'm still enjoying the game and having fun, I'll keep doing it."

    With Canton calling, Richardson won't have the opportunity to show his stuff tonight against his former teammates, but he said he has no regrets.

    "I still keep a home in Kansas City, so I run into a lot of them," he said. "It's just practice to me. … I'll see those guys again sometime."

    Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]

    Richardson is 'great pickup'

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    "I think in any offense, the fullback has to want to go in there and hit somebody."


    I for one can't wait to see this team get a little physical.. Let the games begin..

  4. #4
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    "I think in any offense, the fullback has to want to go in there and hit somebody."


    I for one can't wait to see this team get a little physical.. Let the games begin..
    same here, I'm looking forward to seeing our players going out of their way to put someone on their ass
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...


  5. #5
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    Fullback Richardson Packs a Punch

    Click above for story or video

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  6. #6
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    Good video link ... first time I've really read much about him but love his attitude. If he plays as the Vikes hopes then Taylor could be in for some big games this year.
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...


  7. #7
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    "He was one of those great leadership, great locker-room guys," Warren Moon, a teammate of Richardson's with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1999-2000, said in a conference call this week. "One of the hardest workers on the team, he has really made himself into an all-pro player over the last three or four years."
    This signing has me pumped. One of those guys that has consistently got the job done for a top-tier rushing offense. Hope he still has a few years left in the tank.

  8. #8
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    I thought it was a great signing when I heard about it. Since we no longer have the star power with Culpepper and Moss, our passing game is not going to ever be as effective as it was then, and that opened up some running lanes.

    But we have a new philosophy now - with a great O-line and probably the best fullback in the league, we should have the opposite gameplan. Our running game should establish itself early, and create some opportunities for the passing game. Overall, considering that we have some good receivers, our offence looks like it'll be more balanced than in years past with Culpepper and Moss.

    Thanks PPE for the sig.

  9. #9
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    Ain't nothing wrong with a little THUMP 'n grind!!!

    Keep pounding those LBs, Tony!!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  10. #10
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    Re: Old man Richardson still grinding

    "AngloVike" wrote:
    Good video link ... first time I've really read much about him but love his attitude. If he plays as the Vikes hopes then Taylor could be in for some big games this year.
    DITTO

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