By Greg Bishop
Seattle Times staff reporter



Kris Richard

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KIRKLAND The Seahawks always knew Kris Richard could stick to wide receivers, matching strides like an annoying little brother along for every ride.

That's why they took the cornerback in the third round of the 2002 draft out of USC, stuck with him through an injury-riddled rookie season and stayed with him again this year despite an ankle injury that kept him out of two weeks of training camp.

Most reports from Cheney placed Richard squarely on the final-roster bubble. And Sunday, in a 42-27 win at San Francisco, the Seahawks showed the rest of the NFL why they kept him.

Normally a dime cornerback, Richard filled in against the ***** when starting corner Ken Lucas suffered a bruised lung. Richard downed a punt at the 1-yard line on the coverage team and returned three punts for 21 yards all the while transforming from a jack of one trade into a master of many.

With Lucas possibly out against St. Louis, Richard is that much closer to his first Sunday as a starting cornerback. In the following conversation, he talks about those prospects, along with his frustrations from his first two seasons and the impending, Richard insists, USC national championship.

Seattle Times: Kris, you talked in training camp about not being satisfied as a backup. What do you think about possibly starting against St. Louis this weekend?

Kris Richard: The possibility is up in the air. If (Lucas) feels as though he's capable of playing, then he'll play. As far as I'm concerned, I'll continue to do the same thing I do every week. I go out and try to prepare myself as if I were a starter. Just in case.

ST: This must be new, since defensive backs haven't been injured much in recent seasons.

KR: We've been real fortunate here in the past few years not to have a lot of injuries in the secondary. The guys who deserve to play are going to play.




ST: Wasn't that frustrating for you, though? You started at USC for three years. You were a high draft pick.

KR: It was frustrating. I believe that goes back to the fact that I have a competitive nature. Everybody does. I just want to help the team win. It's all about just paying your dues. It's something I've more or less had to accept over the past few years, the fact that you have to pay your dues. It costs to be the boss.

ST: So how did it feel playing an increased role last weekend?

KR: It was satisfying. It helped my confidence a lot, just to know that all I really have to do is go out and focus in on being technically sound and allowing the game to come to me.

ST: Mike Holmgren used you as an example for his speech that ends, 'Be prepared. You're only one play away.' Obviously, you prepared that way.

KR: I really appreciate that. I'm an eyes-and-ears-open kind of guy. Eyes open. Ears open. And mouth closed.

ST: Who's going to win the college football championship this season?

KR: There's no question about that. It's unbelievable what (USC is) doing down there.

ST: When you graduated from there, could you sense the tide turning in this direction?

KR: Once coach Carroll got the position out there, we all noticed the tide turning. He brought a new attitude. He stood up in front of us one day and said one thing that was really pronounced. He said that we didn't have to lose. From that point on, they've only lost maybe three games or whatever in the past two years.

ST: Any similarities between Carroll and Holmgren?

KR: Two opposite ends of the spectrum. But both are geniuses, just on opposite sides of the ball.

ST: What's the goal? To become a full-time starter?

KR: No question. I would have liked to start my first game my first year here. That's the goal. Good things come to those who wait. So I'm waiting.

Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or gbishop@seattletimes.com