16 months after ACL tear, University High grad Richardson seeks NFL opportunity

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — University High School grad Tony Richardson is on a long road back to an unknown destination. After a stellar career at UHS, Richardson posted a solid 4-year resume at the Virginia Military Institute. Competing at the Division 1 FCS level, Richardson played in all 45 of the Keydets’ games, racking up 135 tackles.

In his final college game in November 2017 however, Richardson suffered a significant knee injury — a torn ACL that required a lengthy recovery. When ‘T-Rich’ was fully cleared by doctors last December, he immediately set his sights on pro day workouts at Marshall and WVU.

“I bettered my times from Marshall’s pro day last week,” Richardson said. “Just comparing them to the other linebackers that were attending here, I think I did a pretty good job holding my own.”

Richardson attended WVU’s pro day a year ago even though he was unable to participate in any field drills. He did so to make connections with NFL staffs and to get his name out for the 2019 draft cycle. On Thursday, Richardson spoke with scouts from the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

“These opportunities aren’t given to everybody so I really appreciate Marshall and WVU allowing me to come here and compete with the other guys,” Richardson said. “I knew that this could be a last opportunity for me to make a name for myself.”

Apart from the physical demands of coming back from a major knee injury, Richardson admits that his patience was tested while waiting for his body to recover.

“When I started working out again, I remember doing a leg press machine and I couldn’t even lift the machine without any weight,” Richardson said. “That was the first time it hit me that we have a long way to go.”

“There were some good days and there were some bad days as far as feeling sore and not being able to explode and run as fast as I used to.”

All 32 NFL teams were in attendance at WVU’s pro day Thursday and Richardson is hopeful that he can find his way into a training camp with a chance to keep his professional football hopes in play.

“I just need one team to give me an opportunity,” Richardson said. “That’s all I ask for. If I get that, I will make the most of it and whatever happens, happens. I am happy that I was able to get this far.”

As Tony embarks on his professional football quest, his younger brother Amir is set to begin his college journey. Amir signed to play receiver at Marshall in December.

“He is ready,” Richardson said. “I am excited to see him play. He plays (versus) VMI in Week 1 so I am kind of torn about which team I am going to root for. But I just want him to do well.”

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