Richardson, Morris renew rivalry in NFL
BEREA, Ohio — Trent Richardson remembers Redskins running back Alfred Morris with long hair and one of his teammates stupidly yanking on it before a game.
“He got so hot, and everyone was so scared of him,” Richardson said. “Nobody would touch him. He was a big guy. He was the biggest dude out there.”
Morris, too, can picture Richardson a bigger-than-average kid, years before he started carrying the ball for the Browns.
“He had calves of a grown man,” Morris said.
The two rookies, who began their football careers bashing their way to stardom on sandlots in their hometown of Pensacola, Fla. — a football talent hotbed — took dissimilar paths to the NFL. But they'll cross paths again and renew their rivalry Sunday when the Browns (5-8) host the Redskins (7-6).
Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, has lived up to projections. He's rushed for 869 yards and matched the team rookie record with nine rushing touchdowns, a mark he shares with Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who caused a controversy when he called Richardson “ordinary” after the Browns selected him.
Richardson has been special.
Morris has been even better for the Redskins.
The sixth-round pick (No. 173 overall) from Florida Atlantic enters this week's game with 1,228 yards and seven scores. Morris is fourth among the league's top rushers, and he's the latest in a long line of young backs to thrive under Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who had four rookies top 1,000 yards rushing in Denver.
Shanahan's system has helped Morris, but the humble 23-year-old has earned every yard through hard work and dedication — values he developed in Pensacola, also the home of career rushing leader Emmitt Smith.
Morris arrived at Redskins camp driving a 1991 Mazda, and although he can now afford to replace the car with 125,000 miles on the odometer, Morris has no intention of splurging. And when he visits his parents' home, he usually stays on the couch.
“I actually like the couch,” he said. “It's pretty comfortable.”
Morris' success may be surprising to those who didn't see him run over other players for years. Richardson has been watching the 5-foot-10, 218-pounder cause destruction inside the hash marks for most of his life.
“We've always been rivals,” Richardson said. “He was the reason why I never made the (high school) playoffs.”
Morris, who needs 288 yards to surpass Clinton Portis' team single-season rushing record, entered camp with one objective.
“I wasn't guaranteed a spot on this team, so I had to bust my butt in camp,” he said. “My goal was to make the team.”
There were skeptics who doubted Morris could play at the game's highest level. They looked at his size and college and wondered.
They should have talked to Richardson.
“He didn't get that much recognition because of the school he was at,” Richardson said. “They didn't get seen a lot. But Alfred has always been a baller to me.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Manziel leaves game with hamstring injury
- NFL notebook: Woodland Hills product Miles undergoes emergency surgery
- NFL notebook: Raiders owner plans sweeping changes to fix franchise
- NFL notebook: Bears bench QB Cutler, turn to Clausen