Tough Decision Awaits Richardson

Will the promising young safety prospect be allowed to resume his career following neck surgery? Richardson is optimistic but he's prepared for whatever is to come.

An unbelievably difficult decision awaits Sean Richardson.

At some point, Richardson and the Green Bay Packers' medical staff will have to decide Richardson's future. Is the potential-packed safety able to resume his playing career? Or would it be too risky to play again after needing surgery after a late-season neck injury?

"No idea. I don't know," Richardson said on Thursday, six days before he could start practicing after opening the season on the PUP list. "We haven't made a decision yet on what's coming up. I think we're going to follow up soon with the doctors and we'll see how it goes. I haven't gotten word on anything yet."

Richardson said he meets with the team's doctors "just about every week" to see if everything is "still kosher" in terms of setbacks, pain and range of motion.

Is everything "still kosher?"

"Yes, sir," Richardson said.

Richardson sounds like a man who's very much at ease with whatever's to come. He's had plenty of time to ponder his future. After sustaining the injury against the Giants on Nov. 25 — he didn't think it was anything serious at the time — Richardson had surgery by Dr. Robert Watkins, the Los Angeles-based spine specialist who also worked with Peyton Manning, to mend a herniated disc on Jan. 19.

Following an offseason practice in June, Richardson spoke hopefully that he'd be cleared for training camp. Instead, his career remains on hold. He's stayed as involved as possible. He's on the practice field most days. He participates in all of the meetings. He works out in the weight room with his teammates.

At some point — perhaps soon — a decision will be made. Perhaps it will be made for him and the Packers will judge the risk too great. Perhaps he'll be given the green light, at which point Richardson will have to determine if the risk — no matter how small — is worth pursuing his lifelong passion.

"Whatever happens, happens," Richardson said. "I'm praying and hoping that I can be able to play again and everything will be fine. If it don't, then life goes on. I'm very optimistic. Coaches and everybody are optimistic. I have a strong supporting cast behind me. I just go out and work hard every day and stay upbeat and up-to-date in the meeting room and at practice and do my rehab. I'm just hopeful for great news."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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