Running Back Jalen Richard
As an undrafted free agent trying to find a permanent spot on the Oakland Raiders, rookie running back Jalen Richard had one goal each day at practice – be seen.
"You definitely come here as an undrafted guy, and you're really just pushing every day to make plays, just to be seen," said Richard before Wednesday's practice. "That's the whole thing, be seen, be seen, let them know every day at the end of the day, that you can play on this level."
And Richard was definitely seen throughout the first few weeks of training camp, enjoying an impressive start to his first camp in Silver and Black, routinely putting day after day of good work on film, and emerging as a player that many people were looking forward to watching in game action.
Then he had to press pause.
Just a few days before the team's preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals, the undrafted running back suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the first two games of the preseason schedule, delaying his official debut as an NFL running back.
"It was a little frustrating, but I got a lot of encouragement from the staff, to handle whatever I had that was nicked up, so that I could be more efficient when I'm on the field, and have a better chance of performing at my best," Richard said.
The Southern Mississippi-product made his return to the practice field Tuesday afternoon, and while he's still getting his legs back under him, Richard noted that he's beginning to feel more like his usual self.
"I'm slowly working my way back into it," Richard explained. "I'm going to give it another shot today, see how everything feels, but I definitely feel good enough to be out there, as far as the intensity standpoint of being able to move around and be in pads, and things like that. It's a day-by-day thing."
While Richard said that his status for Saturday's matchup with the Tennessee Titans is still up in the air, his presence back on the practice field has not gone unnoticed.
"It's too bad that he [Richard] had a little knee injury the last couple weeks," said offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. "There for a while, he was doing something spectacular each and every day in practice. It was good to have him back out there yesterday. It really reminded us of what we've missed the last two weeks at practice with him not being there."
Richard will be back on the field with his teammates Wednesday afternoon, and after a brief layoff, he's excited to return to work, and is looking forward to making the most of his opportunities throughout the remainder of the preseason, whenever they come.
"You start going out there and having fun, and that's what I was doing up to the point where I got dinged up a little bit," he said. "But now I'm back out here, and I'm back having fun again. I'm enjoying it."