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Trent Richardson, Silver and Black scenery

Five days was all it took for former Alabama running back Trent Richardson to find a new team. Tuesday witnessed him sign a two-year, $3.9 million deal with the Oakland Raiders, after being waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Mar. 12, 2015. Oakland, Calif., will be Richardson’s third NFL home in four seasons. The contract doesn’t provide guaranteed funds, however, there is a $4 million incentive given the chance he performs well in Oakland.

Richardson, 24, is coming off two disappointing seasons at Indianapolis. He averaged 3.1 yards per carry with four fumbles (two lost). He totaled 977 yards and six touchdowns in 29 games. Richardson was the third overall pick (first round) in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He put in 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns in 17 games.

Oakland sees Richardson as an opportunity, despite his struggles. He joins Latavius Murray, George Atkinson III and Roy Helu in the Raiders’ rotation. Richardson looks to battle Murray for the starting job next season. Murray provided Oakland’s run game with a spark in 2014, accounting for 424 yards and two scores on 5.2 yards per carry.

The departures of Maurice Jones-Drew (retirement) and Darren McFadden (Dallas Cowboys) gives Richardson a chance to revive his career in Oakland. JaMarcus Russell and Rolando McClain were bad cases, but there are some players that have claimed success with the Raiders.

McFadden spent seven seasons in Oakland, prior to signing with the Cowboys. He recorded 4,247 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. Marcus Allen, Tyrone Wheatley and Vincent “Bo” Jackson were three of the greatest running backs in Raiders’ history.

Allen is in the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame. He collected 12,243 rushing yards and 144 total touchdowns in his career. Allen was a 6x Pro Bowler (1982, 1984-87, 1993). He guided the Raiders (Los Angeles) to a Super Bowl title in 1983 with a 38-9 victory over Washington in Super Bowl 18.

Wheatley made two playoff appearances in six seasons (1999-04) with Oakland. He helped the Raiders capture an AFC Conference title in 2002. Wheatley chimed in 3,694 career rushing yards and 32 touchdowns.

Jackson played only four seasons (1987-90) with the Los Angeles Raiders, but he was a star attraction. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry with 16 touchdowns. Jackson totaled 2,782 yards in 38 games. A hip injury shortened his career.

It’s been 12 years since the Raiders last made a playoff appearance (2002). Oakland’s drafted some quality players, including Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, but it can’t seem to put everything together. Head coach Jack Del Rio is a defensive minded individual; however, the acquisition of Richardson gives Oakland a physical presence offensively.

It lacks talent at wide receiver, but the Raiders can help its cause in this year’s draft. Oakland wants to build back to its glory years. Richardson wants to prove that he’s not a first-round bust. A few more pieces around him could help the Raiders make a push in 2015.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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