It wasn’t even 10 months ago that Paul Richardson tore his ACL in a game against the Carolina Panthers. This kind of injury for this kind of player, especially this late in the season, is a combination for something dreadful in many cases. There was a chance that Richardson wouldn’t be up to game-speed at all in 2015, and there was a greater chance that even if he could have gotten up to game speed, he would have been a casualty of the roster crunch that many teams face after players are no longer eligible to be on the PUP list.
There was a chance that if Richardson didn’t make it back by the PUP deadline, that the team would have to place him on injured reserve instead of using an active roster spot on him, or having to IR another player who may be able to contribute sooner.
Two things have happened to alter that fate.
First, the Seahawks have been one of the league’s healthiest teams so far this year. According to this ESPN article, the Seahawks are the healthiest team in the NFL so far this season, with only Thomas Rawls’ injury to be added to this list. The team will play a game against the Cowboys on November 1, and won’t play again until November 15. Early indications are that Richardson has looked fast in practice. Fast doesn’t inherently mean “game speed” fast, but maybe it does. But the Seahawks are in a position where they could feasibly leave Richardson inactive against the Cowboys, allowing for nearly three more weeks of recovery for Richardson’s surgically repaired knee.
Secondly, Richardson has apparently recovered remarkably quickly. Richardson isn’t the kind of receiver who is going to fight for the ball, or who can rely exclusively on his physicality to make plays. His game is speed, and he’s coming off of the second ACL reconstruction of his playing career, the first one in college. Reports from the Seahawks have Richardson looking “lightning fast.” Of course, the genesis of these comments is an article on Seahawks.com, and the source is a direct quote from perpetual cheerleader Pete Carroll. Take it with the appropriate grain of salt.
But Paul Richardson is back on the field. His presence could mean depth, or he could start to claim a larger role on the team, something he’d been taking large steps towards when he went down with the knee injury.