Former WVU DB Kent Richardson Signs with Browns - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU DB Kent Richardson Signs with Browns

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MORGANTOWN -

The Arena Football League's Defensive Player of the Year just signed a contract in the National Football League.

Former West Virginia defensive back Kent Richardson inked a reserve/future contract with the Cleveland Browns, giving him his first real chance with an NFL squad since his college days ended back in 2009.

"It pretty much entitles me to be a part of the team," Richardson says. "I am a part of the Browns family now because I signed a contract, but I'm just in a position where I can show my stuff throughout the whole process of a season instead of being signed later on after the AFL season and have to go right into it. I can learn the plays with the team all the way from the beginning of the year until the end of the year so when it's camp, I can really show my stuff and I will know everything."

Richardson is fresh off a season with the Philadelphia Soul in which he led the AFL with 14 interceptions while adding 80 tackles, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries on his way to the Defensive Player of the Year honor.

The differences between success in the AFL and in the NFL are drastic, and Richardson knows that, but while some would say an Arena career hardly prepares a player for outdoor football, he believes it made him even better.

"I'm not going to say it's harder [in the AFL], but it's a different way of playing that position that requires you to be quicker in how you react to what the offensive player is doing," says Richardson. "For one, nobody's running at you full speed in the NFL and you have to cover them, so when you're skilled at doing that, it makes outdoors that much easier. That's really what I went there for, so I could work on my cover skills and be a better DB."

Richardson added depth to the Mountaineer secondary at both safety and cornerback throughout his career, playing in 48 games, but only getting five starts outside of special teams.

By his senior season, a third down safety role had become the biggest impact he could have on the WVU defense and he took advantage of it, racking up a career-best 24 tackles and pulling in his first interception. The limited experience made it difficult for Richardson to prove his case when he met with NFL teams around the time of his pro day, but he was ultimately given a chance to attend Green Bay's rookie minicamp.

It was just a weekend, and it was the only time Richardson has spent in the NFL, but the few days gave him the confidence and the motivation to continue to pursue that highest level of professional football.

"I knew I was good enough to get back there," Richardson says. "I talked to the position coach and he told me I was good enough to get back there. I mean, if it's something you want to do, you're going to make it happen. That's how I feel."

So he worked. He put himself in the AFL ranks and trained to be the best, which he was in his second season with the Soul, before giving the NFL another shot.

Richardson is well aware of how difficult it is to stick in the League. He has seen enough former teammates fail in their quest to make a living at the top level of professional football, so while he relishes his opportunity, he keeps in mind how easily it can be taken away in this business.

"I'm very appreciative of it," Richardson says of signing with the Browns. "I know where I came from, where I started and the opportunities that I didn't get but I felt I should have had, so I really just took everything that I've been blessed with and used that and got the NFL contract.

"I proved myself in the arena and now that I've got the opportunity in the NFL, I'm going to do the same thing in camp all the way through the season so I won't lose that."

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