Seattle rookie receiver Paul Richardson, the team’s top pick in the 2014 draft, tore his ACL in his left knee when he was injured in the third quarter last night, the team confirmed Sunday. The news was first reported by FoxSoprts.com, among others.
The injury will put Richardson out for the rest of the season, and given the usual nine-month recovery period for an ACL injury could also impact his readiness for the start of the 2015 season.
Richardson was hurt while attempting to go for a deep pass early in the third quarter.
Richardson also tore the ACL in his left knee while at Colorado, suffering the injury during spring practice in April, 2012.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Richardson “sprained his knee, a knee that he’s had worked on before, so we’ll see. We’re not sure. Sometimes you can’t tell on the tests right now. But he’s pretty sore, it looked like.”
Richardson was taken by Seattle with the 45th pick of the second round, the third-highest pick used on a receiver in Seattle history.
He played in 15 games as a rookie (he was inactive for the Dallas game) and finished with 29 catches for 271 yards and one touchdown. He was particularly effective down the stretch, making 13 catches in the final three games and 10 in the last two, and essentially became a starter for Seattle after the trade of Percy Harvin.
He had one catch for 21 yards in Saturday’s 31-17 Divisional Playoff win over Carolina on the play before he was injured.
Ricardo Lockette got more snaps Saturday after Richardson was out and in terms of style, and may be the best fit for trying to replace the speed that will be lost with Richardson gone. Seattle also may turn more to rookie Kevin Norwood, who was inactive on Saturday.
Richardson was also Seattle’s primary kickoff returner this season, taking on that role after the trade or Harvin, leading the team with 16 returns for 376 yards with a long of 47. That role could now fall to Doug Baldwin, who has been the backup to Richardson and had five returns for 81 yards this season.
Richardson appeared to refer to the injury in a Tweet sent last night:
I'll be back, again! #DontBlink!
— Paul Richardson (@PRichJr10) January 11, 2015