If it seems like you’ve heard this story before, it’s probably because you have. You’ve heard it from former Green Bay Packers Nick Collins and Jermichael Finley. You’re about to hear it from Sean Richardson, who’s hoping things will be different.
Richardson suffered a neck injury back in October. That injury resulted in a second cervical fusion surgery, the same surgery that ultimately ended both Collins’ and Finley’s careers.
Richardson is singing the same refrain both of those guys sang, though.
“You just said the key word: I’m healthy,” Richardson said. “Why quit if I’m healthy? My thing is I still have love for the game, I still want to play and I feel healthy. I told my family if my neck gives me problems, I was going to hang it up. I wasn’t going to give it a shot.
“But if I felt normal and felt I’m not at a greater risk than anyone else or at a higher risk to have a catastrophic injury or be paralyzed, then I’m going to give it a shot.”
There appears to be one small difference with Richardson. Unlike Collins and Finley, he says he doesn’t have a spinal cord injury.
That may be the case, but letting Richardson play comes with risk. If he does play, he would be the first to do so with two spinal fusions.
The decision will ultimately be the Packers’ to make. Richardson will be an unrestricted free agent in March.
If the Packers decide not to take the chance — which we fully expect will be the case — there will be no unsightly divorce or sad goodbye. There will just be a phone that doesn’t ring.
Good luck to Richardson in what ever profession he attempts after football. No way are the Packers or any other team going to sign a special team gunner or run support safety with two spinal fusion surgeries. It would border on medical malpractice to clear Richardson to step on a football field other than to coach or play flag football.