New Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson sat down with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom Thursday to talk about the move to Seattle following the Seahawks’ big trade.
Richardson received a call from his agent the night before Seattle sent Jermaine Kearse to the Jets in exchange for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle. His agent, though, wasn’t certain the trade would go through. The news was confirmed for Richardson once he was called into the Jets’ facility, and just a few hours later, he was packing his bags to move across the country. The move surprised Richardson, who didn’t think he would be traded so late in the offseason.
As it would be for any player, the trade was tough and left some hurt feelings; however, Richardson is comfortable with his landing spot.
“I bought into the (Jets’) system a long time ago,” he said. “Me coming from a background… never really stayed nowhere longer than 15 months since high school; junior college 15 months, Mizzou 15 months. And then four years in New York, kind of like my second home a little bit. And win, lose, or draw, I was out there playing for those guys. But I’m a Seahawk now, and it’s for the better.”
The transition has been fairly smooth, especially with help from the organization. That includes Seahawks vice president of player engagement Mo Kelly, with whom the Jets’ player development personnel was familiar. There were other familiar faces as well — defensive end David Bass was Richardson’s little league teammate.
‘It took me some years, but I finally got you’
Richardson joins a squad headed by Pete Carroll and a high-energy coach style.
“The whole building is fired up, man, everybody,” Richardson said of the Seahawks’ energy. He was welcomed to Seattle with a practical joke played on him not just by the defensive line, but by the entire team. He wouldn’t get into details, but insisted with a laugh that he was cool with it.
Carroll himself isn’t unfamiliar to Richardson. The two met in 2009, when then-USC head coach Carroll was recruiting. Carroll, though, was too late, and Richardson eventually committed to Missouri. At Richardson’s combine ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft, Carroll greeted him again and lamented the fact that Richardson wouldn’t be available by the time the Seahawks made their selection. He wished him luck. Richardson was eventually selected 13th overall by the Jets, and Carroll’s Seahawks won their first Super Bowl.
Richardson laughed when he recalled the pair’s most recent meeting.
“It took me some years,” Carroll told Richardson when Seattle finally landed the Pro Bowler last week. “But I finally got you.”
A few interesting takeaways:
• Richardson says Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whom the team faces in Week 1, is one of the best at drawing players offsides: “He’s got a very enticing call. He’s very good at that, you’d be surprised. It’s quiet, seems like ya’ll out there by yourself because the crowds not yelling and screaming so you can’t really not hear it. And then you actually can key in on his voice and he can get you.”
• Richardson talked about the family atmosphere in college and how it influenced his comfort around people from different backgounds: “If it wasn’t for Mizzou I’d probably be used to just me and guys that look like me in my locker room, coming from the inner city of St. Louis. And just going out to California for junior college, it was something I needed, exposing myself to something other than my neighborhood.”