NEW YORK (FNN Media) — After a year out of the game, defensive end Jay Richardson signed with the New York Jets on Monday.
Richardson wasn’t one of the more talked about names this year, but has the credentials to serve as a formidable addition to Rex Ryan’s defensive line this season.
Like Andre Carter (free agent formerly of the New England Patriots), the 28-year-old Jay Richardson knows what it’s like to have a season cut short due to injury. During the 2010 preseason, Richardson suffered a torn ligament in his knee and was subsequently placed on injured reserve.
Once healthy, he reached an injury settlement with the Oakland Raiders and began playing the waiting game. A few weeks later he was offered a two-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks, but opted instead to sign for just the remaining of the season.
Despite the threat of lockout on the horizon, Richardson and agent Joel Segal wanted to test the free agency waters. Things didn’t go as they hoped and Richardson spent last season out of football. He wasn’t alone.
The free agency period was an ultra-condensed, all-out blitz that largely favored just the bigger names on the market.
Players such as Richardson, who had served primarily in a backup capacity in the previous two seasons, were forgotten. But he doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to his decision.
“There was logic behind that deal,” Richardson told me. “If they didn’t want to bring me back they could have cut me like a lot of other guys.”
Which brings us current. When I caught up with the former Ohio State Buckeye, he boasted spending last season out of football was a blessing. He hasn’t felt healthier the knee has long since made a complete recovery.
Richardson isn’t naive when it comes to the odds of a successful return. But, he’s also not the type to shy away from adversity.
“I can’t wait to prove them wrong,” he said. “The deck is stacked against you when you’re out of it a year. You’re name isn’t as relevant. You’re trying to remind people you’re a good player… all you want is an opportunity.”
And the Jets have given him just that.
“Teams that have good personnel guys will be able to find those guys… find the hungry guys,” he said.
Richardson said he received interest from the league which Terrell Owens now calls home as well as the Canadian Football League, but wanted to hold out for an NFL return.
During his time away Richardson has kept busy by working out — spending a lot of time in Miami with a trainer in hopes of making an NFL return. Outside of the gym, the 28-year-old founded Jay Richardson and Associates, a full-service insurance provider.
The company, based in Ohio, provides insurance services for both individuals and businesses as well as offering retirement planning.
The 2007 fifth-round selection out of Ohio State, made 22 starts between 2007 and 2008. In 2009 he had three sacks off the bench.
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