With Zac Stacy set as the incumbent starter, one of the two backups – either Daryl Richardson or Isaiah Pead – had to go.
St. Louis wasn’t going to keep four lead backs, and late Thursday night, the club made its decision, choosing to cut Richardson and keep Pead.
Both players were selected by the Rams in the 2012 Draft with the primary job of backing up then-starter Steven Jackson.
Pead was selected in the second round out of Cincinnati, while Richardson was the second-to-last player taken in the entire draft (No. 252 in the seventh round).
But it was Richardson, who starred at tiny Abilene Christian in college, who became St. Louis’ No. 2 back behind Jackson, and shined brightly his rookie season with 475 yards and a 4.8 yards per carry average.
Pead, on the other hand, never found any traction, and only had 10 carries his entire rookie season.
Then after Jackson left St. Louis for the Atlanta Falcons in free agency, Richardson beat out Pead again to win the training camp battle for the starting job in the 2013 season opener.
But both players struggled in their sophomore seasons.
Richardson only managed to hold the starter’s job for four games (only starting three after missing one with an injury) before the Rams decided to give Stacy a shot.
And the rookie from Vanderbilt took his chance and ran with it, literally, as he started St. Louis’ final 12 games and finished the season as the Rams’ leader with 973 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Pead’s only start came in that one game Richardson missed, and he had just six carries for 20 yards in a 31-7 Rams’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
So once the 2014 Draft came around, St. Louis was looking to upgrade “the playmaker factor” on its roster, and decided to do that by adding Mason, a player coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Auburn, which also included a trip to Heisman Trophy award ceremony last December as one of the selected finalists for college football’s most prestigious honor.
The Rams made Mason the 75th player selected in the Draft last Friday, and ever since then fans have been wondering when would the hammer drop on either Richardson or Pead.
That time was Thursday night when Richardson was told by the team that they were letting him go.
Neither the club nor Richardson could be reached for comment, but the former Ram did issue a statement via his Twitter account Thursday night:
“Thankful to the @STLouisRams for the opportunities they have given me & to the fans for all of your support. God bless (you) guys!”
The Rams also cut three other players on Thursday, defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo, offensive lineman Graham Pocic, and offensive tackle Emmanuel McCray.