Browns deal Richardson to Colts for 1st-round pick
Trent Richardson didn't fit into the Browns' plans. They're pushing forward without him.
Cleveland traded the powerful running back to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, a stunning move just two games into this season and only one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.
Richardson was dealt for a first-round selection in next year's draft, when the Browns will have two opening-round picks and 10 overall.
Cleveland is rebuilding and the team hopes to use those picks — seven in the first four rounds — to help turn around a floundering franchise mired in losing for more than a decade. Such a reversal was what the Browns had in mind when they took Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft. The former Alabama star seemed to have it all: power, speed and good hands.
But Richardson apparently isn't the kind of back Cleveland's front office wants or one for first-year coach Rob Chudzinski's offensive system. Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards as a rookie despite playing most of last season with two broken ribs, gained 105 yards on 31 carries in Cleveland's two losses this season.
He lacked the explosiveness the Browns' new regime was looking for, and it may not have helped that Richardson made it clear he wanted the ball more.
However, Browns CEO Joe Banner said there was nothing negative about Richardson, and the team simply seized an opportunity to improve. The Colts have been looking for a back since Vick Ballard suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“This was more about the moment presented itself, and based on the situation the Colts found themselves in, it wasn't something where we could say, ‘Can you wait three weeks to think about this or learn more?' We thought it was a move to make us better.”
Banner said the Browns' first conversation with the Colts about Richardson was Tuesday. Banner said the team is not looking to make other trades but would be willing to listen if it could make them better. In addition, the Browns are bringing in free agent running back Willis McGahee for a physical and will sign him if he passes.
Earlier in the day, Richardson talked to Minnesota reporters about the pressure and expectations that come with being such a high draft pick.
“I think people make it more pressure than what it is,” he said.