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CHARGER UPDATE : Rookie Richard Sure Looks, Hits As If He Is Ready to Play in NFL

The law, according to Stanley “call me the Sheriff” Richard, apparently will include helmet-to-helmet collisions and interceptions.

Richard, the Chargers’ first-round pick, caught the attention of Coach Dan Henning and those at Mesa College practice Wednesday night.

“Maybe he’s right,” Henning said. “Maybe he is so good he can just come in here and pick it up. I hope he’s right.”

Richard couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about when he missed training camp to negotiate a three-year contract. He likened the Chargers’ defense to the University of Texas style of play, and he said he would be ready for professional football.

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Well, he was Wednesday night.

Richard lined up at safety, cut off wide receiver Ron Heard in the end zone and then stretched out to intercept Bob Gagliano’s pass.

A few moments later, running back Steve Hendrickson caught a pass coming out of the backfield, and as he turned to make his way up field, he was met head-on by Richard.

The players were asked to make contact in the evening practice, but not tackle each other. Tell that to Richard, who slammed running back Reggie McGill to the ground.

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The lack of intensity exhibited by his players in last week’s venture to Mesa College disappointed Henning. So he began this week’s excursion with goal-line collisions between his No. 1 and No. 1 defensive units.

After an offsides call against the offense on the first play from the three-yard line, Rod Bernstine ran through Junior Seau and Gary Plummer for a touchdown, and the offense hooted and hollered.

The defense stopped the offense on its next five tries and let the offense know about it. But after a “this is it” proclamation from Henning and a promise to the defense that the offense would run the ball, both teams lined up for one more smash-mouth encounter.

Running back Eric Bieniemy took a handoff and then treated cornerback Kris McCall like a sidewalk as he made his way into the end zone.

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“We juiced things up by going on the goal line,” Henning said. “You’re gonna find some things out body language-wise on those plays that tell you something about the young players, but you can’t do too much of it. If you do, you’re gonna be dragging people out of here.”


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