To some, Trent Richardson is a hero. Two-time NCAA champion, No. 3 overall NFL draft pick, the next great running back. He sees himself as a football player with everything to prove in the NFL before he can be considered a hero. But to Richardson, his heroes come from a different breed. They don't suit up every Sunday, they suit up every day.
His heroes are the men and women who serve this country, the same soldiers that Richardson went to play Xbox with in Afghanistan this past year. It was something the Browns were setting up in the background, but Richardson knew he had to be a part of it once he caught wind.
You see, Richardson's great-grandfather, whom he's very close to, is a Vietnam war veteran. And he was one of the few who returned home and would share his "crazy" stories. I guess you could say that Richardson's great-grandfather was his first hero.
"The soldiers overseas are fighting a real battle," Richardson said. "They're heroes to me, to the whole country. The closest I'll ever get to doing what they do is when I play Call of Duty."
So it's no wonder as to why Gatorade chose Richardson as one of 11 NFL rookies to spotlight in their XBOX Live series Everything to Prove, which chronicles the rookies' inaugural NFL season. Just another connection that he has to gaming.
"I need to prove to everybody that I was that guy on two championship teams (at Alabama)," Richardson explained. "When it comes down to drafting a running back in the draft, you want a type of guy to build your franchise around.
"But I'm still just a gamer, always have been, ever since I was four," he continued. "It kept me out of trouble a lot when I grew up. A lot of people don't realize gaming keeps you safe."
And he doesn't want to upset you, but the Madden NFL series isn't his first choice, even though he admits it's "big for him" to be featured in the game. Call of Duty is on the top of his list, but NBA 2K is always challenging for the top spot.
Heck, he was 5 minutes late to the interview because he told me he was playing the campaign of Black Ops 2.
Gaming is something that he does. It keeps him in touch with his old Alabama teammates, and he plays a bit with Robert Griffin III. But deep down, Richardson knows there is another reason as to why Call of Duty has become his favorite game.
"I don't know or not if I would ever join the services, but playing Call of Duty, well that's the closest we will ever get to (war)," Richardson said. "(The soldiers) are the real deal, they should be everyone's heroes because they are the ones out there fighting the real battle.
"For me, I just go out there and give it all online. 'Hey, I'm here, I'm ready to win and ready to take you down.'"