The Indianapolis Colts injuries have seemed to dominate the storylines heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
However, perhaps the most important injury from a production standpoint resides with Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson.
In the Browns 34-24 win over the Bengals last week, Richardson left in the first half after taking a helmet to the side of his body.
His status for this week remains in question.
“Health-wise, it’s day-to-day. Hopefully I’m out here and I’ll be playing on Sunday. I just hope some things come along,” Richardson said of his ribs injury. “(Head coach Pat Shurmur) has got a mind for me, he’s just waiting to see how I feel at the end of the week and then we’ll see if I can go on Sunday.”
If Richardson isn’t in the lineup Sunday afternoon, the Browns will be missing a player that has accounted for just less than half of the Cleveland touches this year.
Richardson is the leading receiving (22 catches for 186 yards) and rusher (95 carries for 340 yards) for the Browns.
“He’s very valuable,” Shurmur said of what Richardson means to the offense. “I think he’s a player that again established himself in the college ranks and he’s found a way to have some production here in the first games. I do think he’ll continue to improve and when you have a guy you can hand it to who has a feel for getting the end zone, of course it helps your offense.”
Leading the Browns in receiving comes as a surprise to Richardson, despite catching 68 passes over three seasons at Alabama.
“I kind of expected to lead the team in rushing. As far as receiving, I didn’t expect that,” Richardson said. “I expected to be a big part of the game, not as far as the passing game. It just means that they count on me a lot and I mean a lot to the program. My work load is going to be heavy so I’ve got to make sure that I’m on my stuff at all times.”
Colts rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman won National Titles with Richardson in 2009 and 2011.
Listed at 316 pounds, Chapman isn’t wowed by the strength of too many players but he knows first hand the type of punch the five-foot-nine-inches, 230-pound frame of Richardson brings to the field.
“He can block, he can run, and he can go out and catch a ball,” Chapman said. “He’s one of those guys that has everything you want in a running back.”
“He’s a strong guy with speed. You can’t underestimate his strength or his quickness and speed.”
Through six games, Richardson is second among all NFL rookies with 526 yards from scrimmage and is showing why the Browns traded up to the No. 3 pick in April’s Draft to select the Crimson Tide product.
The impact Richardson has on a game is well known and the thought of missing even just one quarter doesn’t sit well with him.
“I was so frustrated not to be in that game,” Richardson said of the Bengals game. “Just for me to be out the whole second half, it was killing me but I knew I was doing what was best for the team. I’m not saying I couldn’t have done it or gone out there and done it, but coach didn’t want to take an even bigger risk of me injuring it even more.”
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