BEREA — There was a Trent Richardson sighting at Browns practice on Saturday.
Richardson spent the 75-minute workout riding a bike, which is more than he’s been seen doing since he had arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 9.
Coach Pat Shurmur gave his usual sketchy rundown on Richardson’s status and whether he’ll be available for the season opener against the Eagles.
“I’m very optimistic based on what I’ve seen behind the scenes,” Shurmur said.
At one point, Shurmur said “he will” when asked if Richardson would play, then later amended that to say Richardson will play play if he can play.
“He’s done a lot behind the scenes,” Shurmur said. “Hopefully he’ll be out here soon.”
–Prediction based on nothing more than observation: Richardson will get very few carries if he plays at all.
–GM Tom Heckert addressed how much it would affect Richardson to play after not practicing since the first week of August. “There’s no hitting, so I don’t know what practice does for ya,” Heckert said. “It’s running and learning the plays.” Heckert added Richardson is “a different cat” who might be able to come back.
–Linebacker James-Michael Johnson’s oblique injury sounds like it will keep him out at least a game or two. “It’s more of a pain thing,” Heckert said. “Ribs, all that stuff.” Shurmur and Heckert said Johnson is “day to day” (aren’t we all?), but it sounds problematic. If Scott Fujita’s suspension continues, Johnson’s injury probably means Craig Robertson will start.
–The players elected three permanent captains: Joe Thomas on offense, D’Qwell Jackson on defense and Phil Dawson on offense. Those three will recommend a fourth player each week to join them, and the fourth player will call the coin toss. “That will be a position of honor,” Shurmur said.
–One of the Browns roster moves was to trade safety David Sims to Philadelphia, the Browns opening day opponent. Often teams sometimes will sign a player released by the other team to pick their brains about scheme, cadence and tendencies. In short, a guy provides as much information as possible on his former team. The Browns reversed the trend, sending one of their guys to the team they’ll play. “What they know about what we know, sometimes that can be overstated,” Shurmur said. “He can talk about how we do business, but at the end of the day it’s gonna be a run or a pass, and those are things we try to disguise.”
–Fujita’s suspension remains, meaning he cannot practice or be with the team until the suspension either ends after three games or is stayed by the court. The Browns have heard nothing about Joe Haden’s possible suspension.
–Fifteen rookies made the team. That’s 28 percent of the roster. The Browns had 11 draft picks, and one — Emmanuel Acho — was placed on injured reserve and another — Brad Smelley — made the practice squad. This means that nine draft picks made the roster, as did a fifth-round pick of another team (Tank Carder). So five undrafted free agents are on the team.
–This result is a combination of several factors, starting with the team not adding players in free agency. Add in the turnover from a four-win team and .. 15 rookies.
–GM Tom Heckert on the rookies: “I didn’t know that, so it’s obviously nothing planned.” He continued: “I don’t look on it as a negative at all. We like these guys.”
–Among the rookies are starters at key positions: Quarterback, running back, right tackle, defensive tackle and linebacker.
–Jimmy Johnson used to always favor young players. If in doubt, he’d keep a rookie over a veteran because he felt a rookie was more motivated and energetic. He also said veteran guys were always talking about the way they did things at their previous team. “I’m not interested in how anyone else does things,” Johnson would say. For whatever that’s worth.
–Shurmur said Montario Hardesty remains the backup running back, but if Richardson can’t play it seems that Brandon Jackson earned the start.
–Colt McCoy answered an emphatic “no” when asked if there was any friction between him and Seneca Wallace, who was released on Friday. McCoy said he could not say enough good things about wallace, and called him a guy who set an example and was a “true professional.” Wallace has been labeled as a bad teammate since he made one statement on the radio that it wasn’t his thing to be a mentor, but McCoy did his best to blow that impression apart.