The Oakland Raiders and Jay Richardson quietly reached an injury settlement this week making the defensive end an unrestricted free agent.
Richardson suffered a small medial tear in his meniscus that required surgery during training camp. He was placed on waivers and ultimately wound up being placed injured reserve, which caught him off guard.
“A little bit. I definitely was,” Richardson said when I asked if the Raiders’ decision surprised him. “Even some of the coaches were surprised it happened, too. And some of my teammates were surprised it happened.”
The former Ohio State Buckeye also said that he understood the situation given that the team is carrying fewer defensive ends this season.
Richardson may not have to wait long before stepping on to the football field. He received medical clearance from his doctor to resume playing Friday morning and has already received interest from a number of NFL teams.
“Nothing I’m at liberty to disclose right now,” he said when asked for specific teams that were interested. “But yeah, there is definitely some interest and I’d say in the next two to five weeks it’ll probably be pretty obvious.”
Richardson will also have a new agent to represent him at the negotiating table over these next two to five weeks.
The 26-year-old is now being represented by Joel Segal whose client roster also includes the likes of Reggie Bush, Randy Moss, Darren Sharper, Michael Vick, Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell and a host of others.
“Really, he’s just a wonderful guy. Wonderful agent,” Richards said when asked why he switched agents.
Of course Segal’s track record didn’t hurt, either.
“Got a huge network, tons of contacts and can really do a lot for you,” he added. “And I just think that he definitely offered a lot to a potential client.”
Segal is consistently ranked among the top sports agents in the country, having been named the 9th most powerful sports agent in America by Business Insider earlier this year.
In the end, whether Richardson was surprised or hurt by the way things ended with the team, he is leaving with his head up.
“I definitely send a big Twitter shout out to Raider Nation and just thank them for my time there and for being some of the greatest fans I’ve ever been around,” the free agent said. “It’s been a wonderful ride.”