MONTREAL – Leave it to Jamel Richardson to walk away from a 1,000-plus yard receiving season feeling as though he’d had an off-year. If opponents felt like they got off easy last season when facing the Als star slotback, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen again.
“I feel like I’m 21 right now. I’ve been on a strict diet this offseason and I’m ready to go,” warned Richardson. “The tendonitis in my knee is gone and I’m healthy and ready for 2013.”
Battling injuries coming out of training camp a year ago, Richardson never hit his stride in 2012. Hard at work in the gym these days, he’s already counting the days until the start of the season.
“I’ve got something to prove this year. I’ve got a big old chip on my shoulder,” vowed Richardson after signing his new three-year contract with the Als. “I’ve got big things planned. I’m going to keep my goals to myself, but everyone can expect big things. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Aside from the big things he has up his sleeve for his 10th CFL season, Richardson also has something smaller in his near future that he’s equally ecstatic about. After tying the knot with girlfriend LaToria last winter, J-Rich is about to become the proud father of a baby boy.
“Yeah Baby Rich in on his way, I can’t wait. He’s due June 1 just in time for the season,” beamed Richardson. “This is what I’ve been waiting for: my little Prince.”
Then there are the additions to the Alouettes’ nest this offseason. Despite the team’s lethal group of receivers that already included the likes of S.J. Green and Brandon London, GM Jim Popp reached out to veteran receiver Arland Bruce III to round out the weapons Anthony Calvillo will have in his arsenal this year. Could the Alouettes now have the strongest aerial attack in the CFL?
“There was never one better than us, anyways,” affirmed Richardson. “We’ve always had a stacked receiving corps since I’ve been with the Alouettes, but now that Bruce is in the mix, that’s just going to make us that much more dangerous. He’s a yards after the catch guy, I’m happy he’s on our side now.”
New faces are one thing, but Richardson has made it a point to keep close ties to his teammates this offseason.
“I’ve been in contact with most of the guys especially the ones on Twitter and Facebook. We’re in contact constantly,” admitted Richardson. “All I can tell you is that this team is ready and the season can’t come soon enough. That playoff game against the Argos has stuck with all us. There was no way we were supposed to lose that game and it left a bad taste in our mouths. We’re all hungry for 2013.”
If the players are pumped for the start of the season, one can only imagine what a completely revamped Alouettes coaching staff is thinking these days.
“I haven’t talked to Coach Hawkins just yet, but I’ve been in touch with the new offensive coordinator and receivers coach. They’re great, down-to-earth guys who want to get at it and get to work,” described Richardson. “They explained what they were all about and what their expectations are for me. To hear them tell it, we’re going to be as aggressive as ever on offence this year and that’s just what I like to hear.”