INDIANAPOLIS— This time last season Trent Richardson's locker was packed into cardboard boxes and his destination was South Beach.
It was a feeling Richardson wasn't used to.
In his college days, Richardson's season extended into January and he shined with touchdowns in Alabama's 2010 and 2012 National Championship games.
So here, last January, Richardson was attending the Crimson Tide's National Championship game because there was no postseason football for the rookie running back.
While the weather and result was what Richardson was hoping for in Miami, something was missing.
"I was planning on what I was going to be doing for my offseason, how I was going to get better or how we were going to rebuild the team or where I was going to take my vacation to," Richardson says recalling the story. "I never had an offseason like that, so it was different. It was different.
"I'm not looking towards taking no vacation right now. I'm looking to playing next week and the week after that and the week after that. That's my plans and that's where my head is at."
On Wednesday, Richardson talked like a player who means business this time of year even if he is experiencing the playoffs for the first time.
He was at ease in opening up about the journey he has dealt with since those days of capturing National Championships.
Multiple coaches and playbooks were in store for Richardson's early NFL years before everything changed on Sept. 18.
Richardson was headed to Indianapolis and even though he only knew a handful of his future teammates, the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was about to get real comfortable.
"The system around here, this whole environment was winning again and building a family," Richardson says.
"It brought me back to my Alabama days when I was at college. Around here, all you hear is winning. They love Colts football and blue-collar players. That's what it is. That's what you live off of. It's just getting back to my basics here."
The Colts family with Richardson in the fold now heads into January with no sign of cardboard packed lockers inside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Richardson's plans for January don't involve any trips to New Orleans to watch Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
He hopes his days of being a spectator at postseason games are long gone.
Saturday will be Richardson's first experience in the NFL's "second" season and he's anxious to see what's in store.
"I expect it to be a very emotional game," Richardson says of Saturday. "It's all about who's going to get knocked down. When it comes down to it, whoever wants that game the most, that's who's going to win."
With a young corps of guys named Allen, Ballard, Castonzo, Fleener, Hilton, Luck and Richardson, offseason plans for future Colts teams should wait well until into the new year.
"I'm not planning on stopping here and I'm not planning on letting this be my last year in the playoffs," Richardson says.
"Just hanging around the guys, you just got to have a winning mentality around you and that's what these guys are based on. You listen to the older guys, that's what these guys function off."