Vikings' Treadwell bonds with L.A. Mike from Super Bowl Shuffle fame
CHICAGO -- Three decades ago, he was known as "L.A. Mike," one of the soloists in the Chicago Bears' famous "Super Bowl Shuffle" video. Now, Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell calls him Mr. Richardson.
CHICAGO - Three decades ago, he was known as "L.A. Mike," one of the soloists in the Chicago Bears' famous "Super Bowl Shuffle" video. Now, Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell calls him Mr. Richardson.
Mike Richardson played cornerback in the NFL from 1983-89, his first six seasons with Chicago. The highlight of his career was starting for the Bears when they won Super Bowl XX in January 1986.
The team featured the likes of Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and William "Refrigerator" Perry. Richardson was alongside them in the video, rapping, "I'm L.A. Mike, and I play it cool. They don't sneak by me because I'm no fool ... Please don't try to beat my hustle because I'm here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle."
The native of Compton, Calif., a rough area outside Los Angeles, ran into plenty of problems following his retirement, having 21 convictions for drug issues. Richardson was sentenced in nearby Orange County in 2008 to a 13-year prison term for violating terms of his probation but ended up being released in 2010 after less than two years and says he's been clean since.
Richardson returned to the Chicago area and resumed his career training football players. It was there he was introduced to Treadwell during the 2010-11 school year, when Treadwell was in the 10th grade at Crete-Monee High School in the south suburb of Crete.
The two formed a bond. Richardson began not only training Treadwell but also offering life advice, including how to avoid the pitfalls he had with drugs. The lessons continued when Treadwell played at Mississippi from 2013-15, and the two have talked regularly during the receiver's rookie NFL season.
"Back in high school, he trained me a little bit and ever since then our relationship has grown," Treadwell said. "He's always been in my ear and always been my mentor. I can run and ask him questions just to keep my head on straight and keep things in perspective."
On Monday night, the Vikings will play at Chicago in Treadwell's first appearance in his home area. Richardson will be in the stands at Soldier Field and admits he will be rooting for the Bears, but he wants Treadwell to do well.
Treadwell's rookie season has been a struggle. After being taking with the No. 23 pick in the first round of the draft, many believed he would make an immediate impact.
Treadwell, though, has played just 12 snaps in three games while having sat out three and has yet to catch a pass. With wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (concussion) and Jarius Wright (ankle) listed as questionable on the injury report, there is a shot Treadwell could get his elusive first reception Monday.
"That would be very, very fitting," Richardson said. "I'd love to see him out there doing his thing. I know he's a competitor, and this is one of the most challenging parts of his life."
Richardson, 55, has talked to Treadwell, 21, about maintaining a good attitude while barely playing.
"It's all about patience and being ready when it's your turn,'' Richardson said. "The coaches have their own ideas of what makes their team work, and you can't force your way into your coach's system. It's a process, and maybe their time frame is different than your time frame. I told him his time is coming. When it's coming, I don't know, but just make sure you're ready and keep a good attitude."
Treadwell is trying to round up as many as 20 tickets for family members while Jerry Butler, a friend of the family, estimates an additional 40 close friends will be on hand Monday. Treadwell would love to get his first catch in front of a hometown audience but insists he won't be down if that doesn't happen.
"It would be another step to get it playing against the Bears in my home city, with family there to watch me play," Treadwell said. "But I'm a team player first. ... (Richardson) tells me just to stay positive and that it's a journey."
Treadwell said he didn't grow up rooting for the Bears but was a fan of a number of their players. He named linebacker Brian Urlacher, kick returner Devin Hester, cornerback Charles Tillman and running back Matt Forte as some of his favorites.
Treadwell was born in 1995, a decade after Chicago went 15-1 during the 1985 regular season and then rolled to a 46-10 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. But Richardson, who in 1985 had four interceptions for 174 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown return, has been getting him up to speed as much as he can on those legendary Bears.
Treadwell has watched "L.A. Mike," one of 10 soloists in the "Super Bowl Shuffle," and says the video is "cool because they all did their thing." Richardson has introduced him to teammates from 1985, including hall of fame defensive linemen Richard Dent and Dan Hampton, linebacker Otis Wilson and cornerback Shaun Gayle, and they have provided football advice.
Richardson, who runs 101 Speed Training in the south suburbs of Chicago, works with 10 to 15 football players at any given time. Understanding the families of the athletes often don't have a lot of money, he said he charges a nominal fee.
"I did a lot of change of direction stuff, ball drills," Richardson said of working with Treadwell, who played both sides of the ball in high school. "We did some speed work, some footwork, a lot of football stuff."
As Treadwell began to feel more comfortable with Richardson, the former player began to also offer life advice. Richardson said he hasn't dwelled on it but has discussed with Treadwell his troubles with drugs and ways to avoid them.
"It's part of not hanging out with the wrong people and thinking it'll never happen to you,'' Richardson said. "We've touched upon that. There's enough information (about Richardson's problems) that it's not really a secret. We don't get in depth, but you know, drugs can come in a lot of different forms, whether it's marijuana or whatever else, so the importance is staying away from all of them."
Treadwell said what Richardson has told him about drugs is mostly "common sense," but you "can learn from other people's mistakes." Richardson also has talked to Treadwell about issues such as diet, getting proper rest and being careful with his money.
"He gives me tips and pointers and anything that would help lead me in the right direction,'' Treadwell said.