Running back Trent Richardson plans to sign with the Birmingham franchise in the new Alliance of American Football league, according to Matt Zenitz of AL.com.
But whether he can remains an open question given that he’s still technically property of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“He’s still under contract with us,” head coach Chris Jones said.
Richardson signed with the Riders last September and entry-level contracts in the CFL are two-years, meaning Richardson should have a year remaining on his deal covering the 2018 season. He wouldn’t become a free agent until next February, right around when the AAF is slated to begin play.
The Riders put Richardson on the suspended list to begin training camp and have not released him.
“Right now Trent’s got some situations going on at home so we’ll just have to see where that goes,” Jones said in May.
The 27-year-old Richardson carried the ball 48 times for 259 yards, scoring two touchdowns in four games for Saskatchewan in 2017. Saskatchewan went 3-1 when Richardson was in the lineup and he improved his yards-per-carry each time out. The last game Richardson played was against Montreal and the five-foot-nine, 225-pound back ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Richardson, who was chosen No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, felt he was a free agent in April, but the team confirmed the running back remains under contract with the Riders.
Richardson rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in 2011. After finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting that season, behind Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, Richardson ran for 96 yards and one touchdown to help Alabama win the BCS National Championship.
Richardson rose to stardom at Alabama so it makes sense he would want to play for the professional team in the state capital.