T-Rich Helps Translate for His Old Friend

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After the Jets brought Brett Favre to New York, fullback Tony Richardson rejoiced. The 36-year-old fullback had reason to feel young again once the 38-year-old QB entered Weeb Ewbank Hall.

"I'm just glad I'm not the oldest cat around here anymore," Richardson told Favre.

T-Rich, who says Favre is both a special player and a special person, doesn't think his new teammates should look at him as a savior.

"I think the fans are pretty excited about the moves we've made, and as a team we just have to stay focused and realize one guy can't come in change the whole season," he said Sunday afternoon. "We still have to keep busting our butt and keep working."

Known to clown around a little bit, Favre has already endeared himself to some of his teammates. According to Richardson, the Jets' two oldest vets have hit it off well.

"We were in the weightroom and I was joking around with him about the weight he had. He's like, 'Oh, no, if it's not over 100 pounds, then I'm not doing it."

Jokes aside, Favre might lean quite a bit on Richardson. Both have recently played under Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Richardson, who earned his third Pro Bowl selection in 2007, was a Viking the past two seasons and Bevell served as a Packers offensive assistant (2000-02) and as Favre's QB coach ('03-05).

"I know the terminology that he came out of and I understand it's a challenge with this system," Richardson said. "Football is football and Xs and Os are the same, but it's just the language and the terminology. If I can shed some light on things that are similar, then it helps him out a lot."

It's as if Richardson started Professor Schottenheimer's Spanish class a couple of months ago. After signing with the Jets in March, he's had a lot of lessons and homework assignments.

But Favre, who is going to take that same final exam in the regular season, has moved in from another state and was a late class entry. Although eager, smart and hard-working, he's behind.

"It's the biggest thing, the language. He's so smart that he can look at a play and say, 'Oh, this is this play,' but it's something we call differently here," T-Rich said. "He is a very smart guy and he'll pick this thing up real, real quick and I'll probably be asking him for help on certain things."

As an active player, Richardson lined up on the opposite sideline from Favre six times. During his Chiefs tenure he tasted victory against Favre in 1996 and was on the losing end of a 40-34 OT decision in 2003. Then as division rivals, Favre's Pack swept Richardson's Vikings each of the past two years.

In those six head-to-head matchups, Favre averaged 319 yards passing.

"You knew at any point in time when you were playing him — regardless of the score or regardless of the situation — that they were always in the football game," Richardson said.

On Thursday, Richardson played his first game as a Jet against the Browns in Cleveland. The first offensive unit didn't get a ton of time but figures to get more each of the next two Saturdays. Richardson, a 6'1", 238-pounder who helped the Vikings rush for an NFL-high 2,634 yards last season, will assist a beefed-up Jets O-line find holes for Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

"During the off-season and training camp is where you build the chemistry of your team," he said. "I like the guys I'm working with and the biggest thing is relationships because we enjoy going to work together and we enjoy working hard."

Richardson, an engaging personality who is one of the league's good guys, will host an Internet radio show on *newyorkjets.com *this fall called "Paving the Way with T-Rich." The show times and dates will be finalized soon, but he'll be on the air weekly in a couple of weeks.

If he elects to bring Favre for a segment, expect the banter to be non-stop. But Richardson doesn't want anyone to relax now just because one of the greatest passers in NFL history has arrived in New York.

"Obviously there is a level of optimism out there. I think everyone just has to raise their level of play just because there is a certain aura about him," he said.

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