For the first time this training camp, Trent Richardson hit the field today for the Raiders. He had been missing from practice for the first five days while recovering from pneumonia which he said he had been suffering for two weeks prior to training camp.
"I had pneumonia," said Richardson. "It was in the back of my lungs, so that's nothing to play with. Coach, he made that suggestion earlier. We can't let you go out there until it's all the way gone. It's about gone, so it's the closest I've been to being healthy as far as everything else healthy. I feel good. I feel real good."
Though he had been placed on the Non-football illness list over those few days, the Raiders were not revealing what his issue was. There was some speculation that perhaps it was a weight issue that was keeping him out considering his weight issues while he was with the Colts last season.
That ramped up some when earlier this week Jack Del Rio said he had set "ambitious" weight goals for Richardson to get back to his weight while he played at Alabama, which was in the low 220s and Richardson came in close to meeting those goals.
Richardson set out to dispel the rumors he was out because he was overweight. Though his head coach said Richardson had yet to reach his weight goals, he insisted he came in underweight.
"They might say I was overweight or out of shape, if they seen me run that condition session today, I killed it," said Richardson.
"I was nowhere near overweight. I actually came back in 220-222 something like that. I was actually below what coach wanted me come in at." He added that he feels much faster at his new weight as well.
Not all the speculation was about Richardson's weight was that he was out of shape or ‘fat', but that perhaps he was simply bulked up too much. That the weight was muscle as well. Richardson said it may not be a muscle or fat situation, but that he's just big boned.
"I don't know [if] they was trying to get me to lose muscle mass, but that's hard," said Richardson. "It's hard to lose muscle mass. You only got 7-percent body fat, six and seven. Even when I was a little heavier, I only had 10% body fat so it was kind of hard saying you're going to lose muscle mass and came to find out I got real big bones too. They X-rayed by body, it was kind of crazy, I'm one of the shortest guys on the team and I got the biggest bones on the team."
With his weight down to where the team wants it, and the health issue behind him, he can finally get back to the business of football. It can be frustrating for any player to miss training camp, especially when fighting for a roster spot and playing time.
"Feels good, man," Richardson continued. "This is probably the most eager I've been going to practice in a long time. It's been a long time coming for me."
Not only did he come back with the rest of his teammates having already practiced in pads for three days, but two of the running back were out with injury - Roy Helu and Michael Dyer.
This meant Richardson was not going to get any time to ease back into things and he was going to be taking hits right away. He was thrown out there to full contact with the second team offense. But as he says, that's just fine with him.
"I love contact. As a running back if you don't love contact, you can't be no running back. One thing about a running back is you're going to get hit a lot. One thing about me is I always love giving that hit first because if you don't get that hit first, somebody's gonna come and tag you every time. So, you get that hit first and you let them know you're gonna be there and it's gonna be a long camp if you make me mad."
Being a former third overall pick who is on his third team in four years, carries a lot of pressure. Oakland has all the making of a ‘last chance' situation for him. Richardson seems to know that full well and is doing everything the coaches ask of him to revive his NFL career.
"I'm very driven," Richardson said. "First of all because I got kids. Second of all I got a lot to prove to myself. Everybody wants to put pressure on me and that pressure is nothing but greatness. These people want me to be great out here."