Remembering Where You Came From: Jalen Richard
Some athletes forget where they came from. However, Jalen Richard keeps the 318 in the back of his mind at all times.
Hutch sits down with the Raiders running back to talk about growing up in Alexandria.
Hutch: "Going into your childhood back home, you went to Peabody High School. What does it mean to be representing a mini HBCU on the big stage?"
Jalen: “I enjoy being from a loved community. It made me who I am. I carry it like a chip on my shoulder, you know? We from Louisiana, you know, we don't have it all like the rest of the world. I’m in California living lavishly now, but I never forget what I learned here."
Hutch: "Was it pretty much like a family tradition to attend Peabody?"
Jalen: “I guess you could say that. My aunt went there and her jersey is retired in arena basketball. She married my uncle. So she's family to marriage but, my grandfather played here as well. My whole family pretty much went here. My dad was the only one that went to Bolton. Being from Alexandria and being from Louisiana and I just use that a lot of strength to just go down and play hard."
Hutch: "Talking with a few coaches here in the area, the common concern is the lack of resources that holds back these programs. Do you find any truth to that?"
Jalen: “Yeah, I think is. You know a lot of truth to it. You know I use the term raw when I talk about the athletes that come from this area or, you know, from the Louisiana period. You see people trying to take steps towards creating resources and a lot of other places like South Louisiana have definitely picked up in their resources. When I was coming through, Ole Miss was looking at me, and they didn't have anybody that was actually assigned to this area. The coach literally told me that they heard my buzz, and he came to find out for himself. I believe that if we, you know, build those resources, we can be special."
Hutch: "Tell me who Jalen was as a child."
Jalen: “I was a cool child. I don't think I gave anybody too much trouble. I think I might have been a little sneaky. I’m not sure if my dad knows about this. I think my mom might have kept it solid. This one time, I got a call from my pops, and he was like, ‘Where’s my car at’?” That's all I can say."
Hutch: "On the field, what kind of player were you?"
Jalen: “I was always hard-working. My dad knew exactly who I wanted to be. He would tell me what I had to do to best. I was a little chubby something. My little claim to fame is in junior high, I was the starting center. But, Coach Taylor at the time, told me I needed to play a position with the ball in your hand. That summer, I hit puberty and it was all football moving forward."
Hutch: "When did you know football was going to be your sport?"
Jalen: “My junior year. I had an amazing year that year. I had 2,200 yards, like 32 touchdowns. I stopped playing basketball after that. The man upstairs told me I would play football, but it wouldn’t be for me. It was for something else. When I got to the pros, I was reminded of that after going through so many trials and tribulations."
Hutch: "What were some of those tribulations?"
Jalen: “I was injury-prone in college. I always tell myself that everything happens for a reason and stay positive. Like, maybe I was just balling too hard and had to take a break, you know? I would just trick myself in my thinking so I would be all right, but I was definitely injury-prone. Today though, I still hold to that. I still want to figure out the reason why I play."
Hutch: "You’re in the NFL balling out of control, and with the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, are you able to talk about the new contract?"
Jalen: “We'll see, hopefully, I'll make it to Vegas. The Raiders were the only team that gave me a shot at the time, and the past few years have been amazing."
Hutch: “And, your wife is pregnant again. I know you guys had one little one during that time. How is that and adjusting to everything?"
Jalen: “Baby number two on the way! It’s another girl. I keep getting these girls, I need to take a break! I’m excited for the new baby and for the new situations that are happening. Obviously moving from California, so I'm excited to see what’s next."
Hutch: “I know in 2019, you didn’t get the chance to carry the ball that much. How did you embrace going from being one of the best ball carriers in the NFL in 2018 to just a crucial third-down blocker?"
Jalen: “You just gotta embrace it. You have to play the game for what it is, understand every team is different every year. You always have a different role. I had another role carved out for me. I needed to be that real third-down back there-to come in and block. You know, just to protect when needed and to do my thing outside of the backfield on pass catches. You have to be able to do it all."
Hutch: "And, you're a player that can pretty much do it all. Would that be a message that you would send to some of these younger athletes that want to be in your shoes?"
Jalen: ”Definitely, you have to be versatile in anything. That’s not even just sports life and your career. You always want to be versatile because that just adds value to what you do. When you’re able to do a lot of multiple things very well, you are looked at as like a utility person. I just pride myself on trying to do all those things. Marshall Faulk was a guy resemble. He’s a guy that just did it all."
Hutch: "I know you're going to Harvard for business school, how’s that looking?"
Jalen: “The NFL they got all types of different programs to do in the offseason. So, I applied for this program that would allow us to take a business course the whole semester to the University of Harvard. I got accepted into that, so a couple of football players, NBA players and other professional athletes from all around, are all taking a course. Unfortunately, during Super Bowl week, I have to go out there and I’ll be missing all the festivities in a place that I have no idea of anything, but I’m just trying to gain all the knowledge I can."
Hutch: "So, what is life after football for Jalen Richard?"
Jalen: "I haven’t thought about it, and hopefully I don't have to think about it too much. However, I’ll definitely be looking into some things like real estate. It’s just hard sometimes because of football. Since I was a boy I was taught that I had to be consumed with anything I wanted to be good with in life in order to be great at it."