BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, a stunning move just two games into this season and only one year after the team drafted 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 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 just 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 that there was nothing negative about Richardson, and the team simply seized an opportunity to improve. And 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."
The Browns are bringing in free agent running back Willis McGahee for a physical and will sign him if he passes.