|Date of birth:||December 31, 1950|
|Place of birth:||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||181 lb (82 kg)|
|High school:||Salt Lake City (UT) Granite|
|NFL draft:||1973 / Round: 2 / Pick: 46|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
John Golden Richards (born December 31, 1950 in Salt Lake City, Utah) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver in the National Football League for eight seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears. Richards played college football at Brigham Young University and the University of Hawaii.
Richards attended Granite High School where he lettered in 5 sports (football, basketball, track, tennis, baseball) and received All-state honors in 3 (football, basketball, track). In football he joined his brother Doug Richards and played fullback. He led the track & field team to the Utah Class A state title. In basketball he played guard and was named second-team All-state.
From the start he was the fastest player on the BYU team and wore number 22 in honor of Bob Hayes. As a sophomore he led the team in receiving with 36 receptions for 513 yards (fifth among WAC receivers) and 1 touchdown. As a junior he again led the team in receiving with 14 receptions for 287 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 33 punt returns for 624 yards (17.9 average) and 4 touchdowns, 23 kickoff returns for 468 yards (19.8 average). He was first in the nation in punt returns and 16th in all-purpose yards. He set four NCAA records with most punt return yards (219 against North Texas St.) in a game, most kickoff returns (247 yards, 7 returns) in a game, average per kickoff return (35.3 yards) in a season and tied the record for most touchdowns (4) on punt returns in a season. He received All-WAC honors.
The combination of being ruled academically ineligible and BYU's run-oriented offense, made him take the decision to transfer to the University of Hawaii for his senior season. As a senior he had 23 receptions for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns, before injuring his knee.
The famed sports writer Jeff Pearlman compiled a list of the 100 worst players in NFL history. Golden Richards ranked 34th, quoting former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini who considered Richards to be one of the worst wide receivers of all time.
Richards was drafted in the second round (46th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. As a rookie he was fastest player on the team and played mostly on special teams. In the NFC Championship against the Minnesota Vikings, he returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown.
In 1974, he was named the starter at wide receiver with Bob Hayes' playing time diminishing in his final two seasons of his career. He was the team's long threat (with receptions of 52, 58, 46 and 43 yards) and had his best statistical year with 26 receptions for 467 yards (18 average) and 5 touchdowns. In his third year he had 21 receptions for 451 yards (21.5 average) and 4 touchdowns. In 1976, he had 19 receptions for 414 yards (21.8 average) and 3 touchdowns, missing 3 games because of injury.
The next season, his fourth straight as a starter, he recorded 17 receptions for 225 yards (13.2 average) and 3 touchdowns. At the end of the year in Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos, he had his most notable career highlight, catching a 29-yard pass from fullback Robert Newhouse for the game clinching touchdown.
Richards had a career high 27 receptions with the Chicago Bears in 1978. The next season he played in only 5 games, before suffering a knee injury while blocking on Walter Payton's 65 yard touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although he completed the game. His contract wasn't renewed after he was placed on the injured reserve list.
Richards was the host and co-producer of a hunting and fishing show for ESPN Network called "ESPN Outdoors". He was mentioned on "A Beer Can Named Desire" episode of the cartoon sitcom King of the Hill.
Richards post NFL life included drug addiction, alcoholism, three divorces, and arrests for forgery.
- "The Bottom 100: The Worst Players In NFL History (Part 2)". Deadspin. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- Richards hurt by news of trade
- Golden Richards won't be signed
- Going Deep--Into a Hell : Former Cowboy Richards Has Seen Life Become Anything but Golden Because of Drugs