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Pensacola pride on the line for Richardson

Posted Dec 12, 2012

Trent Richardson will run against a Washington Redskins team that features one of his high school rivals, running back Alfred Morris.

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson has a lot of pride in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla., and on Sunday, he will see another NFL running back from Pensacola in Washington rookie Alfred Morris.

Morris is the second-leading rusher among all NFL rookies and Richardson is third. Morris has rushed for 1,228 yards and scored seven touchdowns, while Richardson has countered with 867 yards and nine scores.

“I’ve been playing football since the age of six and that’s when I started to know Alfred,” Richardson said. “We were always little league rivals, we always played against each other and we became good friends in-between all of that. We played in a basketball league and everything. We’ve not only been archrivals, but good friends too. Our friends got to meet each other and got to know each other over the years and we’ve always just been good friends.”

Richardson knows the Morris family well. In fact, he credits Alfred, younger brother, Shawn and Pine Forest High School with preventing him from leading Escambia High School to a state championship in Florida.

“That school right there is the reason why I never made the playoffs,” Richardson said. “He was the reason I never made the playoffs, and then, his little brother was the next reason. His little brother is the same age as I am. We were in the same grade. His younger brother played just like he did.”

After playing high school football against Richardson, Morris went to Florida Atlantic University, where he gained 3,529 yards and scored 27 touchdowns on 733 carries. He set FAU records in all three categories and finished with 16 career 100-yard games. In six of his last eight college games, Morris surpassed the 100-yard mark.

The younger Morris, currently a senior at Birmingham-Southern College, is the reigning Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for the third-most yards in conference history, 1,449, and 17 touchdowns as a junior in 2011.

From Escambia High School, Richardson went on to rush for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns during his career at the University of Alabama. As a junior, Richardson rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns, both school records.

“Pensacola’s been like that,” Richardson said of the talent in his hometown. “People just don’t get the shot that we have had or they mess up on the streets, get into bad stuff and handle situations a different way than me and Alfred. Pensacola’s got a lot of talent and a lot of people don’t see it. The panhandle gets overlooked. Pensacola’s got like 14 people in the league right now and we are around.”

Morris has rushed for at least 100 yards six times this season and would become the first Redskins player to have seven 100-yard games since Clinton Portis during the 2005 season. He is the first Redskins rookie since the NFL-AFL merger to have six 100-yard rushing games.

Morris is 35 yards away from moving into the top 10 of individual rushing seasons in team history. He is 72 yards shy of becoming the 10th player in Washington history to have a 1,300-yard rushing season. One rushing touchdown would tie Morris with Skip Hicks (1998) for the most rushing touchdowns (eight) by a Redskins rookie.

Richardson comes into Sunday’s game with 1,217 total yards, the most for a rookie in Browns history. He has scored the second-most points (60) by a rookie in the NFL. With 74 yards rushing, Richardson would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jim Brown (942), for the most rushing yards by a Browns rookie.

Richardson is one running score away from breaking Brown’s team record for the most rushing touchdowns by a Browns rookie. Brown rushed for nine scores in 1957. One overall score would allow Richardson to pass Brown and Eric Metcalf for the most total touchdowns by a Browns rookie (10).

“People are really hungry,” Richardson said of Pensacola. “They want to better their lives and better it for their families. Growing up, I always wanted to make sure my mom didn’t have to work. My mom was working two and three jobs when I was growing up. Seeing my grandma work and do for us, it was nothing but more motivation for us. Pensacola is a place where you can be like, ‘I’m glad I’m from here because it made me and everything I do. It pushes me to strive for much more that I want in life.’”

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