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Golden Richards

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Role  American football player
College:  Brigham Young Hawaii
Height  1.85 m

Roster status:  Retired
Weight  82 kg
Name  Golden Richards
Positions  Wide receiver
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Date of birth:  (1950-12-31) December 31, 1950 (age 64)
High school:  Salt Lake City (UT) Granite
NFL draft:  1973 / Round: 2 / Pick: 46
Education  University of Hawaii at Manoa, Brigham Young University
Similar People  Robert Newhouse, Charlie Waters, Drew Pearson

Place of birth:  Salt Lake City, Utah

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John Golden Richards (born December 31, 1950) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver in the National Football League for eight seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears. Richards played college football at Brigham Young University and the University of Hawaii.


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Early life

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Richards attended Granite High School where he lettered in 5 sports (football, basketball, track, tennis, baseball) and received All-state honors in 3 (football, basketball, track). In football he joined his brother Doug Richards and played fullback. He led the track & field team to the Utah Class A state title. In basketball he played guard and was named second-team All-state.

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After being recruited by different division I colleges, he had decided to attend the University of Utah, but his church bishop influenced Richards to attend BYU instead of serving on a mission.

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From the start he was the fastest player on the BYU team and wore number 22 in honor of Bob Hayes. As a sophomore, he led the team in receiving with 36 receptions for 513 yards (fifth among WAC receivers) and 1 touchdown. As a junior, he again led the team in receiving with 14 receptions for 287 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 33 punt returns for 624 yards (17.9 average) and 4 touchdowns, 23 kickoff returns for 468 yards (19.8 average). He was first in the nation in punt returns and 16th in all-purpose yards. He set four NCAA records with most punt return yards (219 against North Texas St.) in a game, most kickoff returns (247 yards, 7 returns) in a game, average per kickoff return (35.3 yards) in a season and tied the record for most touchdowns (4) on punt returns in a season. He received All-WAC honors.


The combination of being ruled academically ineligible and BYU's run-oriented offense, made him take the decision to transfer to the University of Hawaii for his senior season. As a senior, he had 23 receptions for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns, before injuring his knee.

Professional career

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The famed sports writer Jeff Pearlman compiled a list of the 100 worst players in NFL history. Golden Richards ranked 34th, quoting former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini who considered Richards to be one of the worst wide receivers of all time.

Dallas Cowboys

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Richards was drafted in the second round (46th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. As a rookie, he was fastest player on the team and played mostly on special teams. In the NFC Championship against the Minnesota Vikings, he returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown.

In 1974, he was named the starter at wide receiver with Bob Hayes' playing time diminishing in his final two seasons of his career. He was the team's long threat (with receptions of 52, 58, 46 and 43 yards) and had his best statistical year with 26 receptions for 467 yards (18 average) and 5 touchdowns. In his third year, he had 21 receptions for 451 yards (21.5 average) and 4 touchdowns. In 1976, he had 19 receptions for 414 yards (21.8 average) and 3 touchdowns, missing 3 games because of injury.

The next season, his fourth straight as a starter, he recorded 17 receptions for 225 yards (13.2 average) and 3 touchdowns. At the end of the year in Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos, he had his most notable career highlight, catching a 29-yard pass from fullback Robert Newhouse for the game clinching touchdown.

In 1978 with the emergence of Tony Hill, he lost his starting position and was traded to the Chicago Bears, in exchange for a 5th round draft choice in 1979 and a 3rd round draft choice in 1980.

Chicago Bears

Richards had a career-high 27 receptions with the Chicago Bears in 1978. The next season, he played in only 5 games, before suffering a knee injury while blocking on Walter Payton's 65 yard touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although he completed the game. His contract wasn't renewed after he was placed on the injured reserve list.

Denver Broncos

In 1980, he signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos. He retired after suffering a second straight season-ending injury and being placed on the injured reserve list.

Personal life

Richards was the host and co-producer of a hunting and fishing show for ESPN Network called "ESPN Outdoors". He was mentioned on "A Beer Can Named Desire" or "Cops and Robert" episodes of the cartoon sitcom King of the Hill.

Richards post NFL life included drug addiction, alcoholism, three divorces, and arrests for forgery.[1]


Golden Richards Wikipedia