Lucas was born in Glassport, Pennsylvania. Richie is of Russian Descent. He was a first round pick in both the NFL and AFL drafts in 1960. Like many college stars of the era, and possibly because of the conservative style of play in the old NFL, Lucas signed with a team in the wide-open new American Football League, namely the Buffalo Bills, making him officially the franchise's first player. There he played quarterback, halfback, defensive back and kick returner for two seasons before he was obtained by the AFL's Denver Broncos following the AFL's 1962 equalization draft, but he never played for the Broncos.