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Natchez hurt by NFL cut day

NFL cut day hit a little close to home for Natchez residents Aug. 31.

While many in the Miss-Lou were paying attention to the opening Saturday of college football season, at least a few were keeping up with the Kansas City Chiefs and what they were going to do with hometown standout Rico Richardson.

Richardson, a Natchez High School alumnus who played college ball at Co-Lin and Jackson State, was looking to lock down a spot on the Chiefs’ 53-man roster. Unfortunately, Richardson was unable to make the cut, as the team released him among a number of other players Aug. 31.

The release of Richardson was a bit of a punch in the gut for local Bulldog faithful, even if making an NFL roster is a tall task. It’s a huge bummer seeing a local guy — especially a good guy like Richardson — get so close to making the team, only to get cut on the last day.

While it’s disappointing for local football fans not to see Richardson join the Patriots’ Stevan Ridley and Jamie Collins, it’s important to realize how much Richardson accomplished just by getting as far as he did. And if another team doesn’t pick him up, at least Richardson will have gone out on a high note.

In a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Richardson caught a touchdown pass in overtime to give his team a 26-20 win. It was Richardson’s first touchdown reception in the NFL, and given that it gave the Chiefs a win, he said it was a moment he’ll never forget.

Even if he never makes an NFL roster, Richardson can boast of making it to the final day of NFL cuts and catching a game-winner touchdown pass. That already puts him in small company amongst our country’s pool of athletes.

Elsewhere in the NFL, it was announced last weekend that Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow was released by the team. Many people of the Christian faith have been rooting for Tebow, who is outspoken about his beliefs, to find success at the NFL level.

In the comments section of one article I found online at theblaze.com, a commenter suggested that Tebow was cut because of his faith, that evil liberals had conspired with ESPN to pressure the Patriots into cutting Tebow.

I had to laugh at such a mindset. While Tebow’s unashamed profession of his Christian faith is certainly admirable, the Patriots simply didn’t see him as fitting into their quarterback plans, regardless of his faith. There have long been questions about his future in the NFL as a quarterback, and depending on whether or not another team picks him up, those questions may have been answered.

The truth is, whether it’s giving someone a platform to profess their beliefs or giving someone a chance to put a small town on the map, the NFL is not interested in such things. It’s a business, when all is said and done. The ugly side of that business is seeing good guys like Richardson and Tebow getting released.

Natchez should embrace Richardson and tell him the truth — that he gave it his all and represented our city well. Whatever his future holds, here’s to hoping it’s nothing but good things.

 

 

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