INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been nearly six months since Sheldon Richardson described Georgia’s playing style as “old man football.”
Apparently, that’s long enough for Richardson to laugh about it.
As Richardson, who completed his senior season as a defensive lineman with the Missouri football team last year, took the podium in Indianapolis on Saturday for the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, the smile never left his face. Even when pressed with questions about his comments early in the season before the Missouri Tigers played the Georgia Bulldogs, the St. Louis native took it all in stride.
“Just watch what I say,” Richardson said. “They’ll take a little bit of anything and make something out of everything. I’m still myself, so I’m still having fun up here, even when I’m in the media today.”
After a season in the SEC, Richardson laughed and said he still thinks it’s old man football.
“It got taken out of proportion,” said Richardson, shaking his head with a smile. “I told coach how he had a great team, and I didn’t mean any disrespect. When I said old man football, I meant old school football. It was a joke, still is to this day.”
Georgia didn’t take it as a joke, though. The Bulldogs came to Columbia and wore the Tigers down, going home with a 41-20 win. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who had two sacks and an interception in that game, said on Saturday that his team took it as an insult.
“(Georgia) Coach (Mark) Richt brought it back to us and said ‘You're going to play grown man football,’” Jones said on Saturday. “It was an exciting game.”
Jones said it’s been easy to put the comments behind him since meeting Richardson in person, though. After being asked a dozen questions about his injury history, Jones lit up when talking about Richardson.
“Since we’ve been here, man, the guy’s amazing,” Jones said. “I like him. He’s got a great sense of humor. He worked hard, and I’m proud that he got a chance to come up here and show his talent.”
Richardson is eager to show his talent to NFL scouts, particularly after a frustrating final season with the Tigers. While Missouri struggled on the field, Richardson stood out in a breakout season, showing improved discipline and more consistent effort.
“I mean it was frustrating, but leaving my guys was the hardest thing I had to do,” Richardson said. “When I first got to Mizzou, I was trying to prove myself all the time. I started coming into my own as the years rolled on.”
Richardson also lost weight, which contributed to his improvement. He said he weighed as much as 315 pounds during his Missouri career but weighed in at 294 pounds at the combine.
Two of Richardson’s college teammates joined him in Indianapolis as well. Wide receiver T.J. Moe and linebacker Zaviar Gooden were both at the event.
Moe put up 28 reps on the bench press on Saturday, the most of any wide receiver in attendance. Gooden hasn’t worked out yet, but Richardson is enjoying going through the process with close friends.
Richardson said he has sat down to talk with both of them and hopes to get some insight from Moe before his workouts on Sunday. As for Gooden, Richardson gave a ringing endorsement of his teammate.
“He’s Z-Good, man.” Richardson said. “That’s one of the best guys I’ve played with."
Richardson will perform in the bench press on Sunday before taking the field on Monday for positional drills.