His decline began when he had dual shoulder surgery during the 2009 off-season, it just didn't become serious or noticeable until he was an LAK and the injuries had piled up. His style of play paired with his lackluster conditioning certainly didn't help either. I doubt he has any regrets though. Between 2003 and 2012 he won, chronologically, a Memorial Cup, World Junior Gold, Calder Cup, Olympic Gold, and Stanley Cup. Not a bad decade.
^ Is that a triple chin or do I need to check my eyes?
You need some adjustments...
in any case, I remember thinking him and Jeff Carter would be the future of Philly and how hard it would be for anyone in the Metro (Atlantic back then) to compete with the Flyers. And then out of the blue both were traded away. Sometimes there are some major off ice issues we don't see that completely derail a players career. Some can bounce back if they 'grow up', so to speak. Some fall right back into their bad habits, whatever they may be. Paired with rapid aging and a style of play that contributes to rapid aging you'll have an athlete that isn't on top of the game anymore.
Sometimes it's hard to imagine for us seeing that we can always compete at a top level from our couch.
What happened to Richards you ask?
He won everything imaginable at a professional level, made a boatload of money and is enjoying a great life on the lake. What more was left to accomplish? He gave his all and has nothing left to prove or accomplish in pro hockey, I hope he enjoys the rest of his life away from hockey.