Trent Richardson's Mother Dies Before Sunday's Game, Leading To His Absence In AFC Championship Game

UPDATE: New reports indicate that Richardson's mother may not have died. Former teammate Dre Kirkpatrick tweeted an update late on Sunday that contradicted reports from earlier in the day.

Original story:Trent Richardson's mother died this weekend, just hours after the Indianapolis Colts running back missed a team walk-through and was de-activated for Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Richardson had endured a difficult stretch in which he lost his starting job and then saw his playing time slashed dramatically. He was on the inactive list for last weekend's win over the Denver Broncos, and when he missed the walk-through many assumed that Richardson had given up on the team.

But on Sunday, reports emerged that Richardson's mother had died, with the emergency pulling him away from the team.

Trent Richardson had made reference to a family emergency, saying that he would not have walked out on his team.

"I had to miss walk-through," Richardson told ESPN on Sunday. "I'm dealing with a very serious family emergency. I'm still at the hospital. I wouldn't purposely just miss walk-through."

Richardson also addressed the rumors that he had quit on the team, saying he would have never left unless it were an emergency.

"I wouldn't just purposely turn my back on the team," Richardson told ESPN. "I would have been there if I wasn't dealing with this issue."

It has been a difficult several months for Trent Richardson. After being drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns he has failed to gain his footing, rushing for a little more than three yards a carry in his career and being traded to the Colts. He lost his starting spot late this season, and in the playoffs fell below former practice squad running back Zurlon Tipton on the depth chart.

The death of Trent Richardson's mother is reminiscent of former Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, whose mother passed away at the end of the 2013 season. Johnson went on to play hours later, not telling his teammates during the game.