Running Back Jalen Richard
With the NFL regular season set to begin in a few days, the Oakland Raiders continue to prepare for their matchup against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The team completed its final set of roster cuts this past Saturday, and among those to make the team was rookie running back Jalen Richard.
For players entering the league, choosing a jersey number can sometimes be difficult, considering their preferred number may already be taken by another individual. A number can be a representation of who you are or hold personal significance. After making it through his initial tryout with the team, originally going undrafted, Richard was assigned number 46 and wore it through the duration of training camp and the preseason.
The Southern Mississippi running back was an interesting player to watch through training camp and the preseason. He showcased his shiftiness, quickness, and pass catching capabilities out of the backfield. While wearing the number, Richard rushed 10 times for 45 yards, caught three passes for 14 yards, and returned a punt 25 yards, the Raiders longest return this preseason.
His performance on the practice field and under the big lights helped earn Richard his spot on the team. Although he's worn 46 on his jersey, this will not be the case going forward. Richard has decided that he will change to the number 30, which holds some personal significance for the 22-year old.
"It really started, actually I watched guys that wore number 30, like Terrell Davis [running back]," said Richard. "That was one of the main reasons I wore number 30."
He credits Davis as the inspiration for originally putting on the jersey, but his god-brother became the true reason behind the number. "He was playing football and got sick, couldn't play anymore, they were talking about a liver transplant," said Richard. "When I got to high school I wore that number to recognize him and to let him know that I'm thinking about him. That's where the whole number 30 came from, and it feels real good to get it."
Going into the matchup against the Saints, Richard is excited and ready to experience his first NFL game. Growing up he never attended an NFL game as a fan, and his first regular season game will be in his home state of Louisiana, with the number 30 on his jersey.
Richard said it best Monday from his Twitter account, "This story couldn't get any better."