Raiders Running Back Abruptly Retires From NFL

theo riddick

Getty Former Raiders RB Theo Riddick.

Early in training camp, the Las Vegas Raiders have been missing three running backs due to injury and COVID-19. Among the players on the COVID-19 list was Theo Riddick. The veteran running back joined the team last season and played in four games.

Considering the Raiders signed Kenyan Drake this offseason, Riddick was going to have a very difficult time making the team. Instead of grinding it out this offseason, he’s decided to hang up his cleats. Las Vegas announced on Friday that Riddick has retired from the NFL.

No reasoning was given for Riddick’s abrupt decision but it does come as a surprise this late in the offseason. He spent six years with the Detroit Lions and was a key player for them. He was a very strong receiver out of the backfield with 285 receptions for 2,281 yards during his time in Detroit. However, he missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury and it doesn’t look like he ever returned to form. Riddick is just 30-years-old so he has time to change his mind but it sounds like he’s done with football.

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Drake Expecting to Have Big Role in Offense

Had Riddick stayed with the Raiders and made the team, he would’ve mostly been used as a receiver. With Drake signing with the team, the need for another running back with the receiving skill wasn’t big. Drake believes he’s about to have a very big role in the Raiders’ offense.

“I’m definitely excited to see how our roles continue to develop with obviously Josh being the main guy to do what he needs to do because I have much respect and love for him and his game and what coach (Jon) Gruden has planned for us in that specific capacity,” Drake told SiriusXM NFL Radio recently. “But I feel like I might have a big role in this offense. With them being a top-10 offense last year, the sky is the limit for us. I’m ready to see us take it to the next level.”

It was a surprise when the Raiders signed Drake as they already have a good running back in Josh Jacobs. However, the two players have very different skill sets. Drake is a playmaker who will do a lot of receiving while Jacobs is a powerful runner who would rather run somebody over than make them miss.

Jalen Richard Remains Out

At the start of camp, Riddick’s partner on the COVID-19 list was Jalen Richard. He’s one of the longest-tenured Raiders players but he’s missing a good chunk of training camp. As of Saturday, Richard remains out, according to Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

Richard is clearly third on the depth chart behind Drake and Jacobs but he’s still a valuable player for the team. He’s the best blocker of the three and still makes big plays in the passing game. There was speculation early in the offseason that Richard would get cut but it looks like he’ll stick with the team this season if he can return to practice.

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