Former Ram Richter among most versatile

The bust of former Ram Les Richter is unveiled by his son, Jon, and daughter, Anne, on Saturday. AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The testimonials for Marshall Faulk have flowed freely surrounding his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Les Richter's legacy is tougher to access.

Both were Rams legends, Faulk in St. Louis and Richter during the team's days in Los Angeles.

Improbable as it sounds, Richter might have been the more versatile player. He went into the Hall of Fame for his prowess as a linebacker, but he also played on the offensive line, served as the team's deep snapper and spent his first three seasons doubling as the Rams' kicker. Like Faulk, Richter transcended the traditional confines of his position.

Former Rams linebacker and NFL coach Jack Pardee summed up Richter well:

"Before Sid Gillman started throwing the football around, the NFL was all run game, and most teams played a 5-2 front. Les was one of the first true middle linebackers who could defend the run and the pass. He was an All-Pro and was the best in the business for a number of years. You talk about smart, he was the valedictorian at Cal, and calling the signals on the field and making the adjustments, that all went along with kind of establishing a new position. Les was a new breed of middle linebacker, which was part lineman and part defensive back. He could really cover, and that was the difference between him and the group in front of him."

Richter died last year. His son, Jon, accepted on his father's behalf during Hall of Fame proceedings Saturday. The Rams have posted a tribute video featuring Jon's thoughts. I recommend checking it out, along with a couple stories from the Los Angeles Times.