After being placed on the Non-Football Illness list July 31 and subsequently missing the first week of Training Camp 2015, running back Trent Richardson returned to practice Thursday.
Being placed on the Non-Football Illness list is a designation not commonly seen, so there was speculation about what caused Richardson to miss the first week of practice.
Some believed it was a weight issue, but the burly running back made sure to put an end to those assumptions when he addressed the media following Thursday's practice.
"A lot of people were saying something about how I was overweight – I was nowhere near overweight," said Richardson. "I actually came back in at 220 [pounds], 222 [pounds], something like that. I was actually below what [Head Coach Jack Del Rio] wanted me to come in at. I had pneumonia. It was in the back of my lungs so, that's nothing to play with."
Richardson began feeling symptoms two weeks before he reported to training camp in Napa, and after the pneumonia diagnosis, was encouraged by the Raiders training staff to dial back his training.
However, Richardson passed his physical Wednesday and was back in action without reservation Thursday.
"This is probably the most eager I've been going in to practice in a long time," Richardson said. "It's been a long time coming. I feel good. I feel real good."
The former Alabama Crimson Tide running back's return to practice was also a welcome sign for the Raiders running back depth.
While Latavius Murray has been a mainstay in the Silver and Black's backfield this training camp, the same cannot be said for the rest of the team's running backs, as both Trent Richardson and Roy Helu, Jr., have both missed time since the team arrived in Napa.
Richardson was also thrown into the fire Thursday, as he began his Training Camp 2015 experience in pads, but that's more than alright with him.
"See, the thing about me is I love contact," Richardson said. "As a running back, if you don't love contact you can't be a running back. One thing about [being] a running back, you're going to be hit a lot, so one thing about me, I always love giving that hit first."
After a disappointing showing last season, Richardson knows the type of opportunity he has been afforded with the Raiders, and he's intent on making the most of it, even if that means contributing on special teams.
"I'm very driven, first of all, because I have kids," Richardson said. "Second of all, I have a lot to prove to myself, then will come the world. Everybody wants to put pressure on me, and that pressure is nothing but greatness. These people want me to be great out here. I'm just driven, man."
Regardless of drive, Richardson will now have to show the Raiders coaching staff that he's worthy of earning reps, and that he can still be the running back who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards his rookie year in Cleveland.
That mission starts for him tomorrow as the Raiders return to the practice field Friday morning.
"I can't wait," Richardson said. "I'm up for the challenge every day. I'm all-in."