WESTFIELD, Ind. – Shane Steichen called Anthony Richardson into his office Monday evening to deliver the news: He'd be the team's starting quarterback for the 2023 season.
But Steichen told Richardson something else, too: You still have to work for it, the Colts head coach told the rookie quarterback. Nothing will be handed to you, and you still have to earn everything at the NFL level.
He didn't have to tell Richardson twice.
"I don't want to come in here and make it seem like everything should be handed to me — because it definitely shouldn't," Richardson said. "I have to work for everything, and (my teammates) are here working for everything, so I'm just trying to reciprocate the same thing and just continue to grind and gain respect and trust from those guys."
Richardson's three weeks of training camp have been defined not only by his immense talent, but by the work ethic he's demonstrated and level head he possesses. The Colts were never going to just hand the No. 1 quarterback gig to Richardson – he had to earn it, and he had to understand why he had to earn it.
So Richardson embraced the training camp competition with veteran Gardner Minshew. And he didn't have any expectation for how it would go – which is why he said Tuesday he was "shocked" when Steichen informed him of the team's decision.
"I've been grinding, putting in work just to get the title – but it's not really all about a title," Richardson said. "I'm just trying to make sure I'm ready for the team. Despite being labeled QB1, I still got other guys in the room helping me get to that standard. I'm forever thankful for them, I appreciate them and I'm glad I did get the nod and I do have the trust of everybody in the building to think I am QB1."
Richardson said he feels ready to take the reins of the Colts' QB1 gig, but – in keeping with his "gotta work for it" mentality – he also acknowledged Tuesday's news doesn't mean he's made it in the NFL.
"I don't think I'll ever be fully ready because there's always stuff I can learn, day by day," Richardson said. "Just getting information from Gardner, he's been in the league four-plus years. So just gathering information from him, gathering information from coach Steichen, just working day by day.
"As of now I feel ready, but who's to say if I'm ready or not."
Toward the end of his press conference Tuesday, Richardson was asked if he's thought about how he can follow in the footsteps of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Both those guys were QB1 from Day 1, just like Richardson will be. But until Richardson earns it, he's not thinking of himself alongside those two prior first-round franchise quarterbacks.
"Not yet, because I haven't done anything yet," Richardson said. "Those guys, they've done a lot for the people here. I'm just getting started. I'm just trying to continue to push and work for it. When the time does some and moment does come that people ask about me and my career here, hopefully it's all good things."