On the day that new tailback LaDainian Tomlinson’s Jets contract was officially signed, fullback Tony Richardson returned to the Green & White fold.
Richardson has agreed in principle on a new deal to return for his 16th NFL season and his third with the Jets, the team announced tonight. No terms of the new contract were announced.
The man most often called "T-Rich" became an unrestricted free agent last week. His 15-year numbers — 424 carries for 1,714 yards (4.0 avg.) and 15 touchdowns, 205 receptions for 1,512 yards (7.4 avg.) and nine TDs — are still impressive, even though for he’s averaged less than two touches a game for the past six seasons.
But with the Jets, the 6’1", 238-pounder has been more known for being one of the integral parts to the growing, meshing machine that the Jets’ offensive line, tight ends and backs have become under coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and OL coach Bill Callahan.
Last year, of course, he was the blocking fullback on the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense and the franchise’s most productive rushing unit (2,756 yards). And with No. 49 leading the way, the Jets averaged 4.7 yards per carry in 2008 and 4.53 yards in ’09, the first- and third-best season averages in franchise history.
"We hold Tony in the highest regard for what he does on and off the field," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said last week. "I wouldn’t rule anything in or out at this point. Whoever he’s with next year, he’ll make them better on the field as well as off."
Much has changed already in the Jets’ backfield this offseason with the departure of Thomas Jones to Kansas City, the arrival of Tomlinson, and the plans to have Shonn Greene shouldering the load for the ground game in 2010. But one piece will remain constant and that is Richardson, who will turn 39 in December, getting him one year closer to matching his uniform number.
Tags: Bill Callahan, Brian Schottenheimer, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mike Tannenbaum, Shonn Greene, Thomas Jones, Tony Richardson
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