The Jets had the NFL's ninth-ranked rush offense in 2008 and their backfield will remain unchanged in '09. Fullback Tony Richardson, who never really entered free agency, has quietly re-signed with the Green & White.
"I feel pretty good about it. For me, it was kind of a no-brainer," Richardson told newyorkjets.com.
The 6'1", 238-pounder had a terrific first season for New York's AFC representative, leading the way for Thomas Jones' career-high 1,312 yards and 12 touchdowns. Leon Washington, averaging a robust 5.9 yards a carry, added 448 yards and six TDs on the ground.
"The season that Thomas had and the way the offensive line kind of jelled together, being a fullback you want to be a part of that. It was great," Richardson. "And then having the opportunity to come back and work with Leon and work with TJ and hearing the direction Rex Ryan wants to take the team is pretty exciting."
Last week Richardson had the opportunity to speak with a number of team officials in Indianapolis. Team personnel were gathered at the scouting combine and Richardson, who went undrafted back in 1994, serves on the NFLPA's executive committee, which also met in Indy.
"Coach Ryan told me the way he was going to run the football team, some of the things he was emphasizing and some of the things he was looking to implement and looking to change. I really like his approach and we had a great conversation," he said. "I'm obviously looking forward to working with him this year."
Ryan has indicated the Jets will run ball more than they have in the past. Under the new Jets head coach, Richardson and his backfield mates will have a new positional tutor in Anthony Lynn.
"I know Coach Lynn. I played against him when he was with the Broncos, so he has a couple of more pieces of hardware than I own, which is two Super Bowl rings," Richardson said of the man who most recently mentored the Browns RB stable in 2007-08. "But I think he is going to be great to play for and work with."
Back home in Kansas City, Richardson has kept up with the required maintenance on his body. He's doing a lot of cardio and core training and has also begun to bench and squat light weights. T-Rich, one of the league's most outstanding civic leaders, is back for a 15th pro season.
"I'm going to take it year to year," he said. "Obviously I'm excited about having this year in front of me. I feel like I could play past this year, but it's just one of those things where you have to wait to see how your body feels after this year. Hopefully this will be a very, very special year for the Jets organization and I'm looking forward to being a part of it. Then we'll just kind of reevaluate it and see where we go from there."