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mesaSteeler
05-28-2009, 08:43 AM
http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_12460037?source=most_emailed

Former Aggie safety Derrick Richardson adjusting to life in Pittsburgh Steelers camp (1:30 p.m.)
By Teddy Feinberg/Sun-News Sports Editor
Posted: 05/27/2009 01:17:20 PM MDT

LAS CRUCES When Derrick Richardson first arrived at Pittsburgh Steelers' camp, he was reserved.

Now, a month into his NFL experience, the real Richardson the one who plays football with boundless energy and enthusiasm is beginning to shine through.

"When I first got here, I fell back and didn't want guys to look at me the wrong way," Richardson said. "I was quiet at first. But, the more practices I go through, the better I feel about stepping out and being me on the field. My true character is coming out more and more."

Such is life for the former New Mexico State Aggie safety, who is trying to make the Steelers' roster as an undrafted free agent. Sometimes he has to catch his breath, surrounded by defensive All-Pros such as James Harrison, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton. On the other side of the ball, Richardson is squaring off against the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker and Santonio Holmes.

"You know, football's football," Richardson said. "Every practice is intense and every play matters. But once you're on the field, you don't think about who you're playing with. You're just out there playing your game. Obviously, it's a great experience."

Richardson said that he feels comfortable with the Pittsburgh organization, which has a solid reputation following their Super Bowl victory last season. Head coach Mike Tomlin is one of the NFL's finest, along with venerable defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

One thing about coach Tomlin, if you can play, he will get you out there," Richardson said. "And I've had a lot of contact with coach LeBeau. He's talking to me all the time and trying to make me a better player."

Richardson said the biggest adjustment in the NFL has been the lack of contact afforded to defensive backs when covering receivers downfield. After a five-yard cushion off the line of scrimmage, a DB is forced to simply run side-by-side with the receiver. Any contact once the ball's in the air will likely draw a flag.

"I really haven't made that many mistakes since I've been here," Richardson said. "The biggest thing is that you really just can't play with your hands. You gotta just play straight up."

The Steelers are in the midst of their three-week Organized Team Activity periods.

Teddy Feinberg can be reached at tfeinberg@lcsun-news.com; (575) 541-5455

mulldog24
05-28-2009, 12:52 PM
I hope this guy can develope and make the roster,we could use the depth at the safety position.

tony hipchest
05-28-2009, 08:22 PM
for those who dont know, he led the nation in tackles last season.

with the steelers being impressed with mundys smarts and skills (and the fact that he was regarded high enough to actually be drafted) it is an uphill battle for richardson to make the 53 man roster to fill a. smiths spot.

however he should easilly make the practice squad and be an option if clark or carter leave after 09.