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Richardson signs with Chiefs

JACKSON — Natchez High School alumnus Rico Richardson is one step closer to keeping a promise to himself.

The Jackson State wide receiver agreed to a free agency deal with the Kansas City Chiefs following the 2013 NFL draft Saturday evening. For Richardson, the chance at making an NFL roster is what he’s wanted since he was young.

“I may not have gotten my name called (in the draft), but I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life,” Richardson said. “From watching football and saying, ‘That’s going to be me one day,’ to seeing it happen is a great feeling. It’s like a dream come true.”

Richardson, who was named SWAC offensive player of the year this past season after accumulating more than 1,000 receiving yards, said he found out toward the end of the seventh and final round of the draft that he would be a Chief.

“My agent (Richard Catz) called me when there were about 10 picks left and said six or seven teams wanted to sign me, and that the best fit for me to make the team was Kansas City,” Richardson said.

The Chiefs didn’t draft a wide receiver this year, which is why Richardson said he and his agent felt Kansas City was the best fit for him.

“I feel like I can contribute to the team with my special teams (play) and my ability to go deep,” Richardson said. “I know they need receivers.”

At least one local couldn’t be prouder for Richardson. NHS head football coach Lance Reed said he was happy for his former wideout and wishes him the best of luck.

“It’s a really special moment for us,” Reed said. “We’re really proud of him, and we just want to offer all the support we can for him.”

Reed said he knew Richardson had potential to be a special athlete while Richardson was at NHS.

“It’s kind of hard to predict (who has pro potential),” Reed said. “But you see kids with a lot of potential, and it’s all about timing and getting into the right place. All of those things fell in line for Rico.”

Now that the courting process is over, Richardson’s sights are set on competing for a roster spot.

“I’m just going to get ready for mini-camp, which I think is in a week or two,” Richardson said. “I’m just making sure I stay in shape for that.”

Richardson is the son of Valarie Richardson and Alvin Smith.