Remembering Richard Durrett: Todd Archer

As Tim MacMahon and Calvin Watkins have already said, these words are difficult to write.

Richard Durrett was a great reporter, great friend, great husband and great father. Sometimes when a person passes, the platitudes can ring hollow, but everything you have read or heard about Richard is true.

Like a lot of people, I received a “Happy Father’s Day” text message from Richard on Sunday. As I looked back at that text message, I scrolled through the conversations we had over the months. Most of them came when he was co-hosting a radio show on ESPN Dallas. He would ask questions about contracts, about why the Dallas Cowboys did this or did that, about why Tony Romo, about the running game, about everything.

He wanted to get it right. He wanted to know. He wanted to learn.

Richard was always willing to help. Always. If we needed help on the Cowboys’ beat, he was there. He knew what was going on like he had been there all year long. If he wasn’t sure, he would ask questions. He would make sure I would be on the credential list at Texas Motor Speedway because he knew I enjoyed the races. He made sure I was on top of the happenings at the Nelson or Colonial because he knew I enjoyed golf.

I played more than a few rounds with Richard. He was our captain for a few years at the Dallas Morning News in our annual Writers’ Cup against the editors. He treated it as if it were the Ryder Cup with his pairings. He wanted to win. We all wanted to win. When we didn’t, Richard was there with an attaboy or a thanks for playing and a smile.

I don’t know how to make sense of what happened Tuesday. I don’t know if we ever will.

I always enjoyed getting a Christmas card from the Durretts and seeing his wife and children in the photo. My heart breaks that he will not get to see his children grow up. My heart breaks that his children will not get to see their dad.

But knowing Richard, they will always remember him and what he taught them even if their time together was too short. He will always be in their hearts. I hope we all can make sure they remember just how special of a man he was, not just a reporter or colleague.

Richard Durrett was a great man. He will be missed.