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Saturday, May 18, 2024

An open letter to Anthony Richardson 

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Dear Anthony: Welcome to Indianapolis.  By now you’ve moved into what l must assume is great housing for you and yours and have been provided a list of restaurants and grocers that deliver. Undoubtedly, you’ve also been fitted with a nice SUV that’s equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system to ensure there’s no getting lost to the practice facility as well as your new tailor and barber.

Now that I’ve touched on the important essentials, let’s dive into some other matters that will indeed rear their annoying head in the coming weeks. 

First of all, not everyone is your friend so take your time to evaluate those who allegedly care about your best interest. 

Keep anyone other than your family, lifelong friends and coaches at some distance. 

Make sure they respect your privacy and the tremendous challenge you now have to memorize an enormous playbook while maintaining your impressive physical stature.

Don’t live on my pizza and BBQ diet and get all that sleep that a world class athlete needs.

It’s okay to put your cell phone on voicemail while you are slumbering and dreaming of throwing a forty-yard frozen rope on fourth and long for a game-winning touchdown. 

Heck, go ahead and run it in for a two-point conversion while you’re at it, young man.

Most of all, remember the hard work that got you here and what it is going to take for you to be as successful as you want to be, and ignore all the fans who expect you to lead the league in passing yards while mixing in a ton of scoring tosses. Oh yeah, they also expect a high completion percentage on all those passes with virtually no interceptions thrown to boot. 

Since we’ve never met, let me quickly state that all the aforementioned is completely unreasonable for a rookie Quarterback in the NFL, but don’t tell that to all the people who are looking to buy a replica jersey bearing your name so they have something to wear to Lucas Oil Stadium each Sunday this season. 

Above all, keep your family close, as they are your true support system and will love you unconditionally, no matter how difficult things may get.

Make them proud and the rest will indeed take care of itself.

Get ready to take a lot of selfies with fans and to be interrupted for an autograph while dining out in public.

Those folks mean well, but they will look to live through you vicariously and will not understand that you need your privacy to preserve your sanity.

Remember to give back, as one of those kids screaming your name at training camp just might be the next Anthony Richardson and needs to know you care, even if it’s just for a few seconds.  A kind word to him or a fist bump as you turn to walk away will do just fine.

Above all, be yourself and make your mark as a man first, and then as a football player. 

Ignore those who will be unreasonable and call for your benching because you didn’t meet their ridiculous expectations. Play hard on every snap and leave it all on the field. The NFL is beyond brutal and not just physically. 

Reflect on your good fortune that is undoubtedly the result of hard work. Your time is now, and while you’re the future of this franchise, take it day by day and enjoy this ride.

If you do all that, something tells me you’ll be just fine.

Danny Bridges, who thinks Anthony Richardson has a chance to be really special in his pro career, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com. 

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