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The Patriots Have Re-Signed Jordan Richards. Please, God, No.

I’m hardly the harshest critic the Patriots have. In case you haven’t noticed. They can make a 1,000 personnel moves that get ripped by the know-it-alls with their All-22 breakdowns and their transcendent football acumen, and I’m going to have the team’s back because they’ve established a pretty fair track record over the entire 21st century so far.

This is that one exception.

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Jordan Richards? Really? Jordan. Richards. Our Jordan Richards. This Jordan Richards:

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England PatriotsSuper Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots

The one who subbed into Super Bowl LII and was so unable to make a stop on anyone that they started replacing him on crucial 3rd downs with Johnson Bademosi. In the secondary that played Nick Foles like he was a client at a QB Fantasy Camp and they wanted to give him his money’s worth. Like me playing Candyland with my kids when they were 3, dealing off the bottom of the deck so I’d get sent back to The Molasses Swamp instead of them so I wouldn’t have to put up with the hissy fit.

Here’s what I wrote when Richards was traded to Atlanta in August of last year:

Richards has been dumped for a 7th round pick, which feels like steal. For the Pats. Again, nothing personal. But I won’t miss the My Pillow-soft coverage. The not-exactly-Pythagorean angles to the balls. Or the shoddy tackling, that had me saying this a few months ago, when the Pats were practicing with unofficial numbers on all the rookies, that made identifying guys confusing:

–For future reference though, when you see a defensive back badly miss on a tackle, never mind the number and just assume it’s Jordan Richards.

Ouch. That was catty as hell, but I stand by it.

And he’s back. Like a screw up at your job you were glad to see get transferred, and your department is doing much wince he left, then you find out he used union bidding rights to get transferred back.

There are three possibilities that can make this into a positive. One, that this is just temporary. They have a short window with a roster exemption thanks to Ben Watson serving out his suspension and maybe this is just one of those placeholder moves before Richards gets sent to the practice squad. Next is that, as Mike Reiss has suggested, he might be here strictly as a Special Teams guy, as there were some issues in the return and coverage games in Buffalo. Third, is that he’ll come back better than ever. The way two other former Pats whom I was also not happy to see back, Pat Chung and Jamie Collins, did.

That last one is the least likely. But it’s possible. Maybe, just maybe this Shakespearean Sea Change is a real thing. Some of these guys just need to be sent away, see what it’s like in other NFL ports, and come back better, more mature and dependable than the young Laertes they were when they shipped out. Again, I think that’s a long shot. But if Richards comes back better than he was when he was getting shredded by Corey Clement and Nick Foles, I’ll believe we have a trend here. In the meantime, let’s just put him on punts and kickoffs and keep him out of a No. 37 jersey so my post-traumatic doesn’t kick in.