“It wasn’t a tough decision. I love the game of football. My agent and [renowned neck and spine specialist] Dr. [Robert] Watkins have made sure I’ve gone through the same protocols I did with my first injury,” Richardson said. “I had multiple opinions from the top doctors just like after my first surgery. I’ve talked to my family and my agent and Dr. Watkins about the pros and cons.
“The worst that would happen is another herniated disk. We had five steps we had to check off to be able to start back playing, and I met all the criteria. I will be able to play at a high level again.”
According to Richardson, there have been around 12 teams to express some level of interest in him.
“We’ve heard from a dozen teams lately checking in and keeping tabs,” Richardson said. “I leave talking to the teams up to my agent, but I’ve spoken to a few that my agent asked me to visit with personally.”
There was some question as to whether Richardson would be able to ever play in the NFL again, given that he sustained a similar injury back in 2012 that also required fusion surgery of the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae.
Richardson, 26, wound up signing on with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt back in 2012. Last year, the Raiders signed him to a one-year, $2.55 million tender as a restricted free agent, but the Packers elected to match the offer.
In 2015, Richardson appeared in three games for the Packers and recorded four tackles while contributing on special teams. Green Bay ultimately placed him on season-ending injured reserve in October after he sustained the herniated disk in his neck.