Paul Richardson is a new D.C. playmaker

August 7, 2018

RICHMOND Long before Paul Richardson came to the Washington Redskins, he was mistaken for another Washington sports star.

While heading to a Fourth of July party in California with some other athletes, someone thought the wide receiver was actually John Wall.

“I was walking with other guys that played ball, and (fans on the street) knew their names,” Richardson said, perhaps a little salty but in good fun. “And then one person said, ‘John Wall!’ And they were talking to me. I just threw my hand up (to wave) and I just kept walking.”

He didn’t know then that his playing career would take him from Washington state to the city by the same name.

Richardson joined the Redskins this offseason after playing out his rookie contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

Washington fans may want to see Richardson take after Wall as a playmaker, albeit on the gridiron rather than the hardwood.

Richardson’s reputation as a speedster has been parroted since the receiver signed with the Redskins in March, but that description is too simplistic. He feels he and No. 1 wide receiver Josh Doctson complement each other, and the Redskins’ offense, even if they both fit the same “deep-threat” mold.

“We both are downfield threats and we play differently,” Richardson said. “He was the jump-ball guy, a lot of fade balls, a lot of deep stuff, and then I do a lot of stuff behind the defenses as well. I go across the field a lot and use my speed in that way. We kind of work on opposite sides of the field. Defenses have to play us pretty honest.”

Richardson has also shown off his hands in recent days. He caught some short passes from Alex Smith for touchdowns in goal-line drills on Sunday. Most notably, he got a step on Josh Norman in a drill last week and laid out to catch a deep Smith pass, firing up the fans in the crowd.

After practicing against Richard Sherman in Seattle for four years, Richardson has another elite cornerback, Norman, to measure himself against in Washington.

“Richard is the first guy to ever grab me and (tell) me, ‘Look, stay after practice. We’ve got stuff to work on,’” Richardson recalled. “He liked being challenged by my speed and I liked being challenged by how high his IQ was and the angles he attacked because he wasn’t a faster guy.”

Norman has ball skills that defensive backs usually don’t have, Richardson said.

“He can track the ball and make plays on the ball. I think he does well with his angles as well,” he said. “He knows himself as a competitor and as a defensive back.”

Richardson, by the way, is looking forward to going to some Washington Wizards games. Maybe he will meet Wall so fans will be able to tell them apart. The supposed resemblance, after all, is questionable.

“None of us think that we look like anybody else, especially another professional athlete,” Richardson said.

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