Richardson ready for NFL debut

Linden High alum Sean Richardson will officially begin his NFL career Sunday afternoon when his Green Bay Packers host the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’m very excited.  Preseason games are out of the way. First regular season game,” Richardson said. “Everybody is pumped for Sunday. We can’t wait to get out there.”

Richardson signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt, choosing Green Bay over 13 other teams that showed interest in him following the NFL Draft.

Among those 13 teams that pursued Richardson was San Francisco. But that fact is one Richardson said has not crossed his mind as he prepares to make his regular season debut.

“I don’t think about it. A lot of people would say they think about it and want to have a great game against those teams,” Richardson said. “Everybody has their reasons for not picking me. But I feel like I am in the best position right now and everything happens for a reason.”

Richardson is only a week removed from learning that his performance during training camp and in the preseason was enough to earn him an NFL roster spot.

“Everybody was excited. Everybody was pulling for me,” he said of the reaction from his friends and family once he learned had officially cleared the first hurdle of his NFL career. “Everybody was just proud. I just prayed man, thanked the Lord for just giving me this opportunity. It was almost unbelievable how the story happened.”

On the final cut day of the preseason, the day in which rosters are typically trimmed from 90 players to 53, Richardson found himself in the training room nursing a sore hamstring.

He knew he would receive a phone call if he was among those players that were being released by the Packers.

“It was around (9 a.m.) maybe and I hadn’t gotten a phone call,” Richardson said. “Other guys were coming in with their pink slips and I was just encouraging the other guys. At the same time, I was still nervous. One of the quality control guys told me no news is good news.”

When Richardson finally heard he had officially made the team, he thought another player had sent someone to pull a prank on him. He required a certain amount of convincing, but Richardson finally came to the realization that his name was on the Green Bay roster, positioned firmly between beloved Packer stars “Raji, B.J.” and “Rodgers, Aaron.”

“It’s just like a continual learning process. You make the team, but at the same time you still have to learn,” Richardson said.

Throughout that process, Richardson will put in plenty of effort on the practice field, but hopes to do a great deal of his learning on game days.

“I’m going to start off playing special teams and backup safety. Whenever my name is called, I’ll be ready,” Richardson, whose hamstring injury relented enough for him to practice the latter part of this week, said.

The Packers and the 49ers are scheduled to kick off at 3:25 p.m. Central time Sunday in a game set to be televised by Fox.