A write-up on Kevin “James” Richardson in the Folsom Telegraph, July 2011
Ex-football player tackles suicide prevention
Folsom resident battled suicidal thoughts after NFL dreams dashed in ’77
A one-time NFL draft hopeful fell into a suicidal depression in his younger years and he hopes to prevent others from going down the same path.
Kevin “James” Richardson is a self-described writer, life coach and motivator. But in college, this towering man with an iron-grip handshake was a football player for the University of Washington with dreams of making it to the big time.
“I was considered the strongest collegiate defensive lineman in the nation by NFL scouts,” Richardson said. “My defensive line coach was Jim Mora. He’s a past head coach of the New Orleans Saints. My former head coach is currently in the coach’s Football Hall of Fame. He’s the ‘winningest’ coach of the University of Washington.”
He said James told him to expect to be “drafted into the NFL no later than the fifth round in 1977.”
As he approached that fifth round, the atmosphere on the playing field shifted, he said.
“A series of developing events happened in my senior year,” Richardson said. “There was a need to start bringing on fresh faces and not focus on the guys who had been there.”
He said that’s when he found himself second choice, along with many other veterans of the college gridiron.
“When I got put on the second team behind a freshman, that put me in a tailspin,” he said. “When Freddie Prinz committed suicide, that really hit me in the heart. I was thinking the same thing. That put me in the planning stages of taking my own life.”
Read the full story in the Folsom Telegraph online edition: