Riders RB Trent Richardson thinks he’s a free agent. He isn’t.

Trent Richardson, who is still on the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster, believes he is able to sign with any team for the upcoming football season.

“I can actually get back into the NFL this year, I’m a free agent,” Richardson told Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland.

“The CFL is not off the radar, but I am doing everything and anything to get back into the NFL. I know when I get that shot that team will not be sorry for giving me that opportunity. It would be the best comeback ever.”

Only one problem: it’s not true.

Richardson signed with the Riders in September and entry-level contracts in the CFL are two-years, meaning Richardson should have a year remaining on his deal covering the 2018 season.

The team confirmed Tuesday that Richardson is still on the roster.

Now, it’s possible that Richardson thinks he has a “handshake deal” with the Riders that would let him pursue an NFL opportunity should one arise. But CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie recently fined the B.C. Lions for such an arrangement involving Micah Awe and has said the league will come down hard teams that try it. The Riders under Chris Jones, it should be said, haven’t been accused of issuing handshake deals.

The 27-year-old Richardson carried the ball 48 times for 259 yards, scoring two touchdowns in four games for Saskatchewan in 2017.

“I’m not saying it’s off the radar because I owe the CFL a lot for giving me the opportunity to come out there and showcase my talent and give me another chance. Coach Chris Jones has been a big influence and played a very positive role in my life. I talk to him almost every other day, we text all the time,” Richardson said.

“I appreciate it so much, I respect the CFL so much. It taught me a lot about myself. Out there by myself…getting back to discovering and digging out that dog in me again. Making sure that I do what I gotta do to be at my best every game, every play, every morning when I wake up.”

The Riders were 3-1 when Richardson was in the lineup and he improved his yards-per-carry each time out. The last game Richardson played was against Montreal and the five-foot-nine, 225-pound back ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

“It got better as I went along, but the first couple games I didn’t touch the ball that much because I came in and was already the starter. Picking up the plays right on the go is different. There is only two downs…you get a running play in every now and then. You gotta get what you can,” Richardson said.

“It’s very different and it’s very humbling. At the same time, you learn how to love and respect the game. That was my biggest thing: just falling in love with the game again and doing it for myself. The last time I got to play for myself I was a little boy. I had to humble myself and learn how to respect the game. There are some great players out there, a lot of guys that want to be in the NFL or guys that have the potential to be NFL stars.”

Richardson rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in 2011. After finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting that season, behind Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, Richardson ran for 96 yards and one touchdown to help Alabama win the BCS National Championship.

Following the title game victory, Richardson declared for the 2012 NFL Draft. That May, Cleveland traded up to select the five-foot-nine, 230-pound back No. 3 overall. He signed a fully guaranteed four-year $20.4-million deal that included a $13.3-million signing bonus.

As a rookie NFL running back, Richardson carried the ball 267 times for 950 yards (3.6 yards per carry average) and 11 touchdowns while adding 367 yards and one touchdown on 51 receptions for the Browns.

“If Cleveland wants to give me a call I’d love to be back. That’s home for me. Whoever – I just need a tryout, I just need a shot,” Richardson said.

Two games into the 2013 NFL season, Indianapolis traded a 2014 first-round pick for Richardson. He spent the rest of the 2013 season and entire 2014 campaign with the Colts. Richardson ran for 977 yards and six touchdowns and recorded 494 yards and one touchdown on 55 catches in 29 games with Indianapolis. The Colts waived Richardson in March 2015.

Oakland signed him five days after his release, $600,000 of the contract was guaranteed but he was let go in late August. The Ravens brought Richardson to the team in April 2016, however, Baltimore cut him in early August, which had him out of football until he came to the Riders.

“Me going out to the CFL was showing I could still do this. I can run routes, I can definitely block, that’s never been a problem, I can run the ball – if you get in front of me I’m still going to run you over, I’m going to get past you some type of way. So that’s always going to be my motto.”

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68 Comments on Riders RB Trent Richardson thinks he’s a free agent. He isn’t.

  1. Rick cowan // April 17, 2018 at 7:27 pm //

    Let him go back to the NFL we have better runningbacks than him

    • OSKEE WEE WEE // April 17, 2018 at 7:58 pm //

      You got that right. Actually every team in the league has a better back.

    • I want him back. He is a good RB who has learned alot from his past as a RB and did show he still has talent. I am positive that if he has serious interest the Riders will release him and that is likely what’s going on here. Those side deals happen with every team, usually.

    • I hope that 3DN can post an article about Robert Holmes, who passed awaylast week, his obit is in today’s Leader post He was a good friend of mine and all of Rider Nation. THX

  2. 27 years and counting // April 17, 2018 at 7:28 pm //

    Maybe he can sign with the Stampeders, I hear they are looking for a running back.

    • Comment Awaiting Censorship // April 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm //

      How sad is it that he’s so dumb that he doesn’t realize he’s under contract? No one goes to a “school” in the South to learn anything worth knowing, and especially not in Mississippi and Alabama.

  3. Speaks with Chris Jones every day and is shopping himself to the NFL. If Jones is at it again. He should be tossed out the league for good.

  4. Players all over the league have been released to pursue NFL opportunities. The problem is the lack of the option year clause. I think the reason BC got punished is because they were so open about what they did. How do you prove this unless someone actually says that this is what they did? The situation is unworkable, and the solution is to bring back the option year clause.

    • Is it really that hard to prove?

      The league has the contract length on file so the only question is whether a release is because the team has better players or for NFL reasons.

      If the NFL wants whomever, particularly for their roster – the odds of a CFL team not wanting them go down, do they not?

  5. Not you RFD, it was meant for the Russian lover. This micky mouse site hasn’t fugured out how to allow responses to other posters yet. What a rag, to use newspaper terms.

  6. On Richardson, I doubt that he’s done enough for an NFL team to sign him. My bet is that they’d like to see him put in another solid year in the CFL to prove that he has in fact got his head in the game and screwed on right again.

    • True Green // April 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm //

      I agree. I think he’s s stud athlete but his best game was against Montreal and they were done for the season. I wish him luck going back to the nfl but he will need a very good year to get that chance.

  7. Scottsask // April 17, 2018 at 8:06 pm //

    I would agree with that. He hasn’t proven enough yet. That being said, he might not make the Riders. Lots of competition at the running back position.

    • That’s possible. Can we keep Marshall, Richardson and Thigpen as well as Messam? I would bet that he does make the team, but not all of them will. If it was my call I think I would trade Thigpen to an eastern team.

      • *Maybe* not all of them will. I can think of scenarios where they all might make the team.

      • greenenvy? // April 17, 2018 at 9:16 pm //

        Curious – what Eastern team would want Thigpen? Ottawa’s got Powell, Argos got James Jr., Alouettes got Sutton. I don’t see Hamilton wanting him back. He showed well when he came to Riders but is out for a couple to start. I don’t think he has much trade value & neither do you if you don’t value him above the other backs. For the record, neither do I. He’ll likely be available to anyone before the season starts. You’re not keeping 2 older backs & Messam is staying.

  8. I think he will come to camp and if he gets a NFL offer Jones will accommodate. Maybe he gets the same hamstring injury Vince Young ‘suffered’.

  9. Richardson should be checked for a concussion. He’s got to be the only guy in football that hasn’t heard the James Wilder Jr. saga. It’s the exact same scenario. Except Wilder made a difference.

    • greenenvy? // April 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm //

      If it’s true Jones & Richardson talk every other day, how can there be any confusion? Wouldn’t they have talked about the upcoming season – conditioning, getting into the playbook etc.? I’m sure at this point you should know you’re tied to a team or not. If you’re not, then your agent certainly should be aware of the 2 year deal when you signed it. I don’t see what the problem is.

      • I don’t know envy….Jones has a pretty thick accent. Maybe Richardson didn’t have an interpreter handy in the off season.

        • greenenvy? // April 18, 2018 at 11:09 am //

          Good one. It’s hard to understand that thick Croatian drawl. Ain’t Jones’ Tennessee home jest north of Bama, Trent’s alma mater? LOL

  10. Colour me green // April 17, 2018 at 8:38 pm //

    I’m surprised with them talking so much that he thinks he is a free agent? Thigpen is good, why send east. He likes it here.

    • YMMV … if he has delegated everything to his agent who is clueless, it may not have come up with the Riders and his agent’s bad advice may have him thinking this way.

  11. Dickie Hoofnickle // April 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm //

    If he can get another shot at the NFL, let him go. I’m sure all American players want that. I don’t blame them, especially if they have the talent.

    • greenenvy? // April 17, 2018 at 9:24 pm //

      I think Ambrosie has been very clear on that matter. Just recently the board & team reps got together I believe on the Manziel situation as to the 2 year deals & it looked like there was no exception being looked at for Johnny. So I don’t see this going anywhere with Trent. Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise me if he got cut & I really don’t see any other team picking him up.

  12. Scottsask // April 17, 2018 at 8:58 pm //

    I’m not sure Thigpen will make the team either, plus he’s got a 2 game suspension.

  13. Scottsask // April 17, 2018 at 8:59 pm //

    I still think it’s Cameron Marshalls job to lose.

    • Scottsask – I guess we got Messam as he’s Canadian, but I quite liked the backs we had at years end. Big fan of Marshall

  14. Ridet4life // April 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm //

    Well can see Marshall go as we have Johnny Augustine now so Thigpen Messam Richardson and Augustine should work our great.

  15. Pennyrocker // April 17, 2018 at 9:29 pm //

    Richardson should check himself in trying to move too fast. He was found working in a factory. Played a few games now wants NFL.

    All I seen is one great play last year. Play the year out with the Riders and then we will see if Richardson has what it takes to play NFL. Or is Richardson a big chicken.

  16. Well, seeing as the CFL season starts well in advance of NFL training camps, they Roughriders could bring him to camp and cut him after the second pre-season game. Then he could sign with anyone in the NFL he wants, in plenty of time for a full NFL camp, and just the CFL try to prove that it wasn’t on the up and up.

    It could be done that way.

    • Sure … the question is what NFL teams have seen enough to want to sign him.

      He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2014 with something like four games played in 2017 for the Riders.

  17. Wally Buono has a principle that he only wants those who truly want to be on his team in that locker room. If a player wants to go NFL he steps aside as knows it’s never a good thing to have that guy souring the room and the team if he is only there due to his contractual obligations.

    I get what the Commissioner and the CFL want to do – it’s just not a good thing for a team to have players who want to be gone in your team.

    What would a team do? Trade the guy? LOL

  18. What!?
    Only under the watch of Chris Jones would one be so misinformed not to know his situation. Does Jones not communicate with his players or has he simply forgotten about him, instead spending all his time polishing (so to speak) is trophies Duron Carter and Jerome Messam.
    Hate to burst the bubble of rider fans, but Finch doesn’t figure big in our offense plans anyways. Look for Terry Williams (156 yards and 3 TDs in his only start) to be looking down the stats page at your committee of RBs this season.

    • True Green // April 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm //

      So it’s the coach’s job to explain contracts? That’s the players agent job. And a player should understand what he’s signed. It’s completely backwards (which make sense why you would think this way) for the one party to a contract to be responsible for interpreting the contract for the other party. That would be even more complicated than dual agency. But, I’m not surprised that you’d find a way to blame it on CJ and bring up Finch I’m the same comment.

  19. Rick Cowan // April 17, 2018 at 10:13 pm //

    I think if anyone should be traded it should be Richardson Thigpen and Marshall looked a lot better Thigpen is a game breaker Richardson is more of a power back

  20. Scottsask // April 17, 2018 at 10:30 pm //

    I’m not so sure there would be any takers for Richardson anywhere else, with the exception of Calgary.

  21. My ideal scenario would be that we keep Messam, Richardson and Marshall and trade Thigpen to an eastern team. Thigpen does have the breakaway speed that the others don’t have, but he also has the two game suspension and I’m not completely sold on him as a RB. Messam, Richardson and Marshall are all very good, proven, RBs, but they all had injury issues last year as well so some depth is not a bad idea. I’m VERY interested in seeing what Richardson could do in a full year, but if he has a good year he’ll be gone back to the NFL next year, so having some extra depth this year is not a bad idea for that reason too. Messam took quite a pounding the last couple of years so a lower mileage year for him might be a good thing as well. I’m a big fan of Marshall’s as well. He may not have breakaway speed but he was really coming into this own as a very smart, clutch, RB when he got injured.

    • Of course that suspension he’s facing might hinder his tradability, has will the fact teams know Jones can’t possibly keep them all.

  22. Scottsask // April 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm //

    That’s why camp will be interesting, should be real good competition at that position. Not sure Richardson will stick around to be a backup, and I think Messam will only start if we run into injuries at the national positions. Still think it’s Marshall’s job to lose, but Richardson did improve every game he played. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out. My biggest concern is still at Oline, will be interested to see how the depth there plays out, and to see if Josiah St. John can play, I’m afraid he’s on thin ice.

    • I think it’ll be more of a rotation than a clear #1. I don’t think Richardson needs to put up gaudy overall numbers to accomplish what he wants to accomplish here. I think he just needs to be productive when he’s in there, and be a good team player. This would likely be his role back the NFL as well, at least initially. Marshall I can see being with us for a long time. But Jones loves his depth, so I could see us always having sort of a 1A and 1B type situation. The fact that all three of them, all four of them actually, are on modest contracts this year means we have the luxury of being able to keep lots of depth this year.

      OL is really the one big question left, and I guess LT is the biggest question there. Where JSJ is at, and how the other young guys progressed last year, is another question. How exactly we plan to use Bond is another.

      A couple more guys I’m looking forward to seeing this year are Cameron Judge and Taylor Mays. Mini camp in a week!

  23. The Realist // April 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm //

    I wonder if Richardson has been talking to Jones the coach or Jones the GM. Maybe the GM could have mentioned the fact that Richardson is locked in.

  24. AS we have seen MANY TIMES in the CFL with ALL the teams over the years is that the STANDARD 2 YEAR contract does not get honored with players who have a NFL contract of some kind waiting for them to sign. The team who hold that contract simply CUTS or RELEASES the player involved so they can do the NFL deal. Don’t know of any CFL guidelines that does not allow a team to cut or release a player. Bingo – that 2 year contract just got shortened.

  25. 3rd and 1 // April 18, 2018 at 8:52 am //

    If any of you turf brains that think you know so much of the in and outs of the league and it’s policy’s. Would think back to when Richardson was signed. He was told that if a real true opportunity came along from the NFL after his first year. Chris Jones would do wat he could in order to help Trent out.
    The facts are simple … no NFL team is going to come calling. Trent carried the ball a few times in 2 games. Then pounded it for a game and ran for 124 yards. Then was put back in the shelf for the shelf. He could be a strong solid RB in the CFL but that’s not what he’s looking for.
    I for one hope he does go to camp and competes for a starting role. It’s his last chance, so go in and give it your all. It will answer all of your questions Trent.
    I think it would be a great story if Trent was able to win out and have an all star season.
    Why do so many of you cheer against a human being trying to find his talent and respect once again. Some of you must live very shallow lives. I almost feel sorry for you. “Almost”

    • greenenvy? // April 18, 2018 at 3:11 pm //

      “Jones would do what he could” if an opportunity came up. So did Wally. It’s pretty clear that teams can’t go rogue with promises contrary to the CFL contracts. BC got fined for writing in loopholes. Jones can say what he wants but Ambrosie doesn’t want teams giving assurances they can get out after a year. Hasn’t Jones been fined enough already?

    • While it is probably not enough more games to have an NFL team come calling, hat in hand – the CFL stats say he played in four games last year, with carries of 5, 14, 9 and 20 times.

      Not workhorse numbers but not that much below Messam’s high water mark of 28 carries and near his low water mark of 4.

  26. Blue rules // April 18, 2018 at 9:47 am //

    You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave. “Eagles”

  27. Anonymous // April 18, 2018 at 3:51 pm //

    Jmo but to survive in the nfl in his situation,he would need to thrive in the cfl.
    See how this season plays out,and show his value.
    Doug flute did this,and he stayed in the cfl for more then just 1 yr.
    Riders are loaded at the RB position,and he’ll need to come to camp ready ..body and mind.

  28. I’d personally like to see him back in the riders jersey. Great blocker and great short yardage runner, but we do have some good backs coming into camp this year!

  29. Richardson is soon to be a free agent, like after the first week of training camp?

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