BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Not long ago, Trent Richardson was viewed as a cornerstone for Cleveland’s future.
On Wednesday, he became part of its recent inglorious past.
The Browns traded the powerful running back to Indianapolis in a stunning move just two games into the season and one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.
The team’s new front office dealt Richardson for a first-round draft pick next year, when the team will have two opening-round selections and 10 overall. Cleveland is rebuilding again and the team hopes to use those picks — seven in the first four rounds — to help turn around a floundering franchise.
Such a reversal was what the Browns had in mind when they took Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in 2012. The former Alabama standout seemed to have it all: power, speed and good hands.
But Richardson wasn’t the kind of back Cleveland’s front office wants or apparently suited first-year coach Rob Chudzinski’s offense. 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 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,” Banner said, “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 and we had to make that decision now. We decided to move forward.”
Banner said the Browns’ first conversation with Indianapolis about a deal for Richardson was Tuesday.
The shocking trade — easily the biggest in Cleveland’s expansion era and one of the most significant since the Browns joined the NFL in 1950 — came on the same day Chudzinski announced third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday against Minnesota. Hoyer got the surprising nod over backup Jason Campbell to fill in for starter Brandon Weeden, who is sidelined with a sprained right thumb.
Goodell sees progress in player safety: NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Goodell believes new player safety rules in the NFL are working.
Goodell says Wednesday “the overwhelming reaction is that players are adjusting to the new rules, the new techniques.” He understands it will take time before everyone has grasped the way the league wants the game played, but people are recognizing when these hits don’t fit into the context of the game.
Goodell participated in a series of meetings on player health and safety at the league’s headquarters. He says the feedback he has received from coaches, players, officials and administrators indicates “a positive shift in the culture.”
RG3 suggests he’ll run more to spark Redskins: ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Look for Robert Griffin III to start running again.
The Washington Redskins quarterback said Wednesday that he might start running the ball more to help give his team a much-needed spark after an 0-2 start.
Griffin has carried the ball only nine times in two games, and he’s yet to run the ball out of the zone-read, the type of play that befuddled defenses and helped him set a rookie QB rushing record with 815 yards a year ago.
Griffin said he isn’t hindered by the brace on his right knee, a visible reminder of his offseason knee surgery. Teammate Pierre Garcon says it’s “common sense” that the knee brace would slow Griffin down, and Griffin responded by jokingly challenging Garcon to a race.
The Redskins play Detroit on Sunday.
Jones-Drew tendon strain a relief to Jaguars: FREMONT (AP) — Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew has a tendon strain in his left foot, and the Jaguars hope he won’t miss any games.
Coach Gus Bradley said Monday that Jones-Drew will undergo an MRI as a precaution. But he’s encouraged that Jones-Drew could be ready to play Sunday in Seattle.
He was hurt in the first half of Sunday’s 19-9 loss at Oakland and could miss practice this week.
The news isn’t as promising for quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who sliced open the back of his throwing hand during the season opener against Kansas City. Gabbert had some of the stitches removed but is almost certain to miss a second straight game.
The Jaguars are staying in Northern California and practicing at San Jose State with two straight games on the West Coast.