BEREA, Ohio–Trent Richardson has certainly earned the endorsements of the NFL’s greatest backs.
He’s been praised by Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith and now Marshall Faulk. Both Brown and Faulk were on the practice field in Berea watching Richardson Wednesday.
Faulk was in Berea to film sessions for the NFL Network and he took some time with Richardson after practice. Faulk rushed for 12,279 yards with 100 touchdowns and also added 6,875 receiving yards with 36 touchdowns in his career.
Richardson said he first met Faulk at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and the two have stayed in touch.
“We met at the NFL Combine and stayed in touch since then,” Richardson said. “We’ve been clicking ever since. Every time I see him he gives me love and wisdom.”
Richardson said Faulk has given him good advice.
“One thing he always tells me is to be smart with my money,” he said. “He always tells me to play behind your pads. That’s big coming from him because we as running backs think differently than everybody else. Last year, I played with broken ribs but I didn’t let anybody know it because I felt if my legs weren’t broken I could play through it.
“That’s where I got a lot of respect from him and everybody around the world that I played like that.”
Faulk said he thinks Richardson will flourish in Norv Turner’s system.
“(Richardson) has it in him,” Faulk said. “It’s in him to be great. He wants it.”
Richardson said he hopes to emulate Faulk’s career.
“He was a three down back and that’s what my goal is to be a three down back and never come off the field,” Richardson said. “I told coach that I’ll play on special teams if he’ll let me, but I know that’s not going to happen. Marshall was a three down back and he’s not that big. He was that guy on the field that everybody feared and that’s when I’m out on the field I want everybody to fear me.”
Richardson said the one team goal he wants that Faulk has is simple.
“Super Bowl, Super Bowl. That’s what I’m praying for and that’s what I’m pushing to and that’s what we strive for every day,” he said. “We’re taking one step at a time.”
Richardson said Faulk gave him some practical advice on a pass play that Faulk perfected on the way to his Hall of Fame career.
“He called it the ‘Faulk’ route, but a lot of people call it the ‘Angle’ route or ‘Texas’ route,” Richardson said. “He was like the king of it and he’s still the king of it. I haven’t seen anyone run that like him. You run at an angle and you push the linebacker’s shoulder and whichever way he turns you turn the opposite way and make him miss. You should be wide open and hope that the quarterback can get it to you.
“I love it and want to run that route a lot in this system.”
Richardson says he loves meeting and talking to those who’ve played in the NFL before.
“I’m a student of the game,” he said. “I’m also a historian. There’s always room to get better. There’s always goals to reach. There’s so much I want to accomplish for myself, for me wanting to be what I want to be to where I want my name to be in the Hall of Fame.
“One of my goals is for my kids to be able to go look at say this is what my father did or my son to grow up and say my Dad did this and I want to do better than (he did),” he said. “If kids around the world can say I can do what Trent Richardson did or can do it better as i looked up to Marshall Faulk, Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith, a lot of great guys, Ricky Williams that I looked up to as I was growing up. There’s a lot of great guys that I looked up to growing up that set the same goals for people like us to go back and break the (records) that haven’t been broke.
“I appreciate meeting guys like that, those that have went before me,” he said. “These guys mean a lot to me and the game of football, the game we love to play.”
Lombardi Speaks: GM Mike Lombardi spoke to the media for about 10 minutes for the first time at training camp. Lombardi was asked a variety of questions but kept his answers vague. One of the topics was about the quarterback position as Lombardi was not a fan of Weeden when he was an analyst on NFL Network. He and CEO Joe Banner brought in Jason Campbell to push Weeden for the starting job.
Lombardi was asked about his impressions of Weeden.
“Everybody that practices football has really good days and they have some bad days,” Lombardi said. “I think everything’s a learning experience and I think he clearly has proven in the offseason that he’s gotten better at everything they’ve asked him to do.
“So every day is about getting better and I think that’s what a lot of players are doing.”
Weeden has taken virtually every snap with the first-team offense during the offseason and so far training camp.
“Jason’s an experienced player and we felt like before when we signed him, Coach Chud (Rob Chudzinski), Joe and everybody in the organization felt like that experience could certainly help an organization,” Lombardi said. “He’s come in here, worked hard. He knows the system. He’s getting better with every single rep.”
Lombardi was high on Brian Hoyer while he was on NFL Network and it wasn’t a big surprise the Browns signed him when he became available in May.
“Brian’s a guy who’s been in the league,” Lombardi said. “He hasn’t played a lot, but is experienced in terms of being around it. He works hard and he’s a competitive kid. So it was an opportunity to add somebody to keep improving in that area and give him an opportunity.”
Lombardi didn’t want to get involved in the quarterback competition debate.
“My job is to evaluate the players,” he said. “Chud’s job is to coach the team and handle all that. So I think that’s really important for him.”
Lombardi also was asked about WR Josh Gordon, who missed his second-straight practice with patellar tendinitis. He also will serve a two game suspension to start the season.
“I’m excited to see Josh’s development as a player,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s shown this offseason with a great attitude and I’m looking forward to being a part of that. He wants to be a good player.”
Lombardi was asked if he thinks it is important for Gordon to become a top-flight NFL receiver.
“I think Josh, like a lot of players, has come out here to try to get better every single day and I think that’s been really important.”
Lombardi also talked about this past April’s draft, the first he was in charge of for the Browns. He said he isn’t concerned if none of the picks end up as starters this year, including Barkevious Mingo, the sixth pick overall in the draft. Mingo might not be listed as a starter on the depth chart as he could be used as a pass rushing specialist, similar to how the 49ers used Aldon Smith a year ago.
“Mingo is a lot like he was at LSU, he plays hard, he’s kind of symbolic of what we’re trying to acquire here, players in terms of plays hard, plays with passion, athletic, can run,” Lombardi said. “Obviously, he has a long way to go to learn his craft as a player, and he’s out here working every day to get better and that’s the only way you can do it.”
Lombardi said he’s more interested in the amount a player plays and contributes, as opposed to who is listed as the starter on the depth chart.
“Their playing time is more important to me than who gets introduced,” he said. “But I think as we build this team, I think you’ll see players play, and the younger players will play and grow, and I think that’s really more important.”
Hardesty, Bryant Return: RB Montario Hardesty returned to the field after missing two practices with a hamstring injury. DL Desmond Bryant (back spasms) also was back on the field.
“(Bryant’s) back at practice,” Chudzinski said. “He’s doing a little team (drills). He’s battling.”
Injury Report: DB Tashaun Gipson (shoulder), WR Josh Gordon (patellar tendinitis) and OL Chris Faulk (knee) worked on the side with trainers.
“Gordon continues to have tendinitis, but I expect him back in the next couple of days,” Chudzinski said.
Chudzinski said that Gipson is coming along.
“He’s dong well,” he said. “He’s feeling better. He’s day to day.”
Miller Update: OL Ryan Miller, who suffered a concussion last Saturday has not attended team meetings as of yet. He is under the NFL’s protocol for concussions. Chudzinski said that he is allowed to attend meetings under the league’s policy, but hasn’t.
National Media Spotlight: NFL Network was in Berea featuring the Browns with Marshall Faulk and Ian Rappaport.