Browns trade Richardson to Colts
BEREA -- It definitely wasn't a slow news day for the Browns. If there wasn't enough news on Wednesday coming out of Berea with the announcement that third-team quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday's game with the Vikings and that Greg Little was being benched, there was still more.
The Browns came back with an announcement in the early evening that the team had traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts for the Colts' first-round draft choice next year.
Despite starting the season 0-2, the Browns decided to give up on the player many felt was going to be the focal point of the offense this year. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he expected Richardson to carry the ball over 300 times this season.
In the first two games, Richardson had 31 carries for 105 yards for an average of just 3.4 yards per carry. The Browns spent the OTAs, minicamp and the preseason trying to keep Richardson free from injury and as fresh as possible heading into the season.
The Browns are clearly stocking up for next year's draft with the speculation they will go after one of the high-profile quarterback prospects expected to be available. The team currently has 10 picks next year, including two first-round picks. They previously added the Steelers' third-round pick and the Colts fourth-round pick next year.
“Trent’s a great player and we expect him to have success in this league,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner in a team release. “Right now, based on how we’re building this team for sustainable success, we’re going to be aggressive and do what it takes to assemble a team that consistently wins.”
At a press conference at the team facility Wednesday night, Banner was asked if it looks like the Browns are giving up on the season.
"I think the proof will come as we keep playing," Banner said. "I think we have to earn the fans trust, but I think we have to do what we think is right."
Seated next to banner at the press conference, head coach Rob Chudzinski denied moving Richardson was a result of a belief he does not fit the new offense installed by and coordinator Norv Turner.
"It had nothing to do with Trent from that point," Chudzinski said. "It was an opportunity as an organization to get better ultimately."
The Colts lost Vic Ballard for the season and Banner said the opportunity is something they felt they had to do.
Richardson was the third overall draft pick of the Browns in 2012 from Alabama. He rushed for 950 yards with 11 touchdowns and caught 51 passes for 367 yards in 15 games. He was the top rookie rusher in the AFC, despite playing the majority of the season with broken ribs.
The trade leaves the Browns with Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey currently on the roster. The position was thought to be one of the strongest points of the team entering training camp, but season-ending injuries to Montario Hardesty and Dion Lewis and the release of Brandon Jackson cut into the depth. In a somewhat surprising move, the Browns announced in their press release that they are bringing in Willis McGahee for a physical. Typically, teams don't announce players they are trying out, but it is assumed they will sign him if he passes the physical.
McGahee, 31, was with the Broncos last season and has been to the Pro Bowl twice.
"We're bringing McGahee in and there are some options out there," Banner said.