Colts’ new running back greeted by hoots, hollers

Trent Richardson’s new NFL home has all the features he’s

wanted.

The Colts expect their newest player to become a workhorse

running back, grow alongside a young franchise quarterback and

carry them into the playoffs for years to come. It’s a big change

from Cleveland’s perpetual rebuilding project.

One day after the Browns called Richardson to say he’d been

dealt for a first-round draft pick in 2014, Richardson arrived to a

locker room that had his new teammates hooting and hollering, a

horde of reporters hanging on every word and the familiar sight of

Browns fan Condoleeza Rice watching practice.

”It’s another chapter in my life and with that I’m going to

have a chip on my shoulder,” Richardson said. ”I am going to play

football like I know how to play football. However it goes with the

Browns, good luck to the Browns the rest of the season, but other

than that, I’ve got to be here playing football.”

The Colts (1-1) gave up a draft pick they hope will come at the

end of the first round next year to obtain the 5-foot-9, 225-pound

Alabama alum. Cleveland gave away three picks to move up one spot

and take Richardson just last year. He never quite fit the newest

offensive system in Cleveland.

Indy now has a quarterback, Andrew Luck, and a running back,

Richardson, who were both Heisman Trophy finalists less than 24

months ago and were ranked by most scouting departments as the best

players at their positions coming out of college.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has somehow corralled five of

the top 100 players drafted in 2012 – all of them on offense. Along

with Luck and Richardson, the No. 1 and No. 3 overall selections,

Indy also has tight ends Coby Fleener, a second-round choice, and

Dwayne Allen and receiver T.Y. Hilton, third-round picks. Fleener,

who turns 25 on Friday, is the oldest of the bunch.

For Grigson, the deal was too good to pass up. He and Cleveland

CEO Joe Banner, who worked together previously in Philadelphia,

started talking early this week and it didn’t take long for Grigson

to work something out. It’s his 16th trade since coming to Indy in

2012.

”You always want to surround a great player like Andrew with

weapons, and we had a need at running back,” Grigson said. ”So we

went out and got one.”

They found a back that the Browns (0-2) gave up on after playing

just 17 career games.

Richardson rushed for 950 yards as a rookie despite playing most

of the season with two broken ribs. This year, under new

management, Richardson had only 31 carries for 105 yards. The back

Hall of Famer Jim Brown once described as ”ordinary” never

demonstrated the explosiveness Cleveland new coaching staff

wanted.

Grigson and the Colts, who are transforming last year’s vertical

game into a more balanced offense that features power running,

didn’t have the same scouting report. Coach Chuck Pagano referred

to Richardson as a ”rolling ball of butcher knives” and called

him a perfect fit in this system.

”All I know is, I got a couple texts from some players I used

to coach and it was `Wow, congrats and thank you,”’ said Pagano,

the Baltimore Ravens’ former defensive coordinator. ”And you know

why they said `thank you,’ because he’s out of the division. That

tells you right there. He’s a game-wrecker.”

Over the past week, starting running back Vick Ballard (right

knee), left guard Donald Thomas (quad) and Allen (hip) all landed

on season-ending injured reserve. The trade overshadowed those

losses and created an instant buzz around town and inside Indy’s

locker room.

Richardson will now get a crash course on the Colts’ offense and

is likely to play this weekend at San Francisco.

It’s still unclear whether Richardson will start over Ahmad

Bradshaw, who made his first start with Indy in Sunday’s 24-20 loss

to Miami. But one thing is clear: Richardson is considered one of

Indy’s cornerstones.

”We did not bring him in here to, I guess, be the water boy on

Sunday,” Pagano said. ”He’ll be ready to roll.”

Richardson couldn’t have asked for more.

After trading his No. 33 jersey in for a white No. 34 practice

jersey, he said the shock of being traded was starting to wear off

and he promised to spend these next few nights pulling all-nighters

with Indy’s playbook and getting comfortable.

All he has to do now is fit into his new home.

”People can’t just stack nine in the box no more,” he said.

”You think you’re going to stack nine in the box, Andrew’s got an

arm for you and you got Reggie Wayne and T.Y. out there, and you

got our tight ends that are going to work, too.”

Notes: After putting Allen on injured reserve, Indy promoted

rookie receiver Da’Rick Rogers from the practice squad to the

active roster and signed receiver Danny Coale to the practice

squad. … Pagano said linebacker Pat Angerer (knee) and safety

Antoine Bethea (toe) were held out of practice Wednesday but were

expected to return Thursday. Safety LaRon Landry (ankle) is listed

as day-to-day. Pagano also said receiver David Reed (concussion)

was a full participant in practice Wednesday and was feeling well

Thursday.