It was widely assumed that Green Bay Packers safety Sean Richardson’s career was over, last season. Richardson suffered a neck injury that resulted in a second spinal fusion surgery.
That surgery happened in January and last month, Richardson stated his intent to return to football.
We’ve heard that before.
We’ve heard it from Jermichael Finley and Nick Collins, both of whom had their own spinal fusion surgeries. Both of whom the Packers wouldn’t clear to play again.
If there’s a difference with Richardson, it’s that he’s already been cleared by the Packers to return after one fusion surgery. On the flip side of that coin is this: no player has ever been cleared to play after having two fusion surgeries.
Richardson is very early in the rehab process, but the returns have reportedly been positive. More importantly for his prospects, the Packers haven’t ruled out his return yet.
“I don’t know that,” Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s a conversation that I haven’t been a part of with Pat McKenzie. I know that he feels really good about it. … He looks like he’s starting to get back into it, because he really thinned down there for a while. I’m not sure, we haven’t talked about him medically.”
The odds are still long for Richardson.
In addition to history not being on his side, Richardson is also a free agent.
It seems unlikely he’ll even be able to workout for teams for months. By that time, he may be an afterthought, even if a team will clear him.
Like Finley before him, Richardson could go into free agency this offseason and remain there.