After the 2013 Indoor Football League season ended, Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford started looking at available players for his 2014 team.
He zeroed in on young defensive back Quinton Richardson.
He was priority No. 1, said Shackleford. He probably was my first call in the offseason. He can cover the stationary receiver (the one receiver who doesnt move before the snap) so well. Hes done a really good job in camp.
Good enough that Shackleford already has named Q his starting safety for Friday nights IFL season opener against the Wyoming Cavalry, kicking off at 7:05 p.m. in the Toyota Center.
I tried to sign him last year, Shackleford said. We had a few minor injuries at the beginning of training camp, and he had an open window to do something with it.
A 6-foot, 200-pounder who played high school football at ODea in Seattle before attending the University of Washington, Richardson bounced around a little bit post college.
I spent some time with the New Orleans Saints in their OTAs, said Richardson, 25. I was with Montreal in the CFL during (current Chicago Bears head coach Mark) Trestmans last year.
And he was with the Spokane Shock for a while last season.
But its only now when the game, he says, has slowed down for him indoors.
The coaches here have done a great job helping us new guys get acclimated here, said Richardson. And the older guys have done a great job of helping us. (Defensive back) Lionell Singleton, both on and off the field, has done a tremendous job helping.
Richardson says that itll be nice to play against someone other than his teammates on Friday.
I just want to hit someone, he said.
Like most players at this level, Richardson isnt here to strike it rich this season. Hes looking to get some highlight video that will catch the eyes of someone in the AFL, CFL or most importantly the NFL.
Thats definitely the goal, he said. But since I am on this team, I want to win a championship.
That road begins Friday.
Notes: Shackleford said this week leading up to Fridays game is all about repetitions and players honing their mental abilities. He said he and assistant coach Cleveland Pratt installed the entire Wyoming game plan during the first week of camp after it opened Feb. 7. DL Pablo Garcia was banged up earlier this week with tendinitis in his elbow. Veteran defensive back Dustin Bell, who played for the Fever in 2011, has looked good in camp, said Shackleford. Bell will not only play in the secondary, but also help out at receiver. That allows Shackleford to keep all of his defensive backs.