Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson couldn’t get to his locker fast enough.
Following the Browns’ 7-6 win over the Chargers, Richardson went straight to the trainers room to get his aching ribs looked at.
Then he was told someone was waiting for him at his locker.
It was Jim Brown.
“He’s always been an icon,” Richardson said. “A legend guy like that, that’s big to see him out there waiting on me. Somebody came in the training room and told me, ‘Jim Brown’ and I ran out there. It’s a pleasure. With him being here today, shows a lot of how he feels about us.”
The two embraced, shook hands and exchanged numbers following a big afternoon by the former Alabama back.
“I thought he had a great day,” Brown said. “I thought to have ribs that are not healthy and to play that way says a lot for his heart and his talent.”
Brown then delivered his seal of approval of the selection of Richardson, which the Browns traded up 1 spot in April to make and he questioned, to reporters.
“When you have a runner, it makes the defense feel bad when they’re being controlled by the running game and a great runner,” Brown said. “So, absolutely that choice was a good choice, and the attitude he brings to this organization is a great attitude. He’s a leader at this stage of his game, and this is very early to be calling someone a leader, but his work ethic and his attitude is going to be great for the team and the city.”
There were questions all week about what, if anything, Richardson could do after a right rib cartilage injury limited to 8 yards on 8 carries a week ago at Indianapolis.
Sunday against the Chargers, Richardson, pain and all, was not going to be denied.
“Even when I got a little dinged, I got a little hit, I’m not saying anything to them, I’m going to play this whole game,” Richardson said of his determination to play all 4 quarters. “There’s no way they’re going to take me out of this game this week.”
5 of the 10 longest offensive plays on the afternoon were courtesy of Richardson.
The only points scored were courtesy of him too.
His 26-yard touchdown capped their opening drive but Richardson didn’t want to take all of the credit considering he got a little push towards the end zone from a few teammates.
“My offensive line, Shawn Lauvao was talking to me,’Go, go, go,’” Richardson said. “It was funny to me.
“I knew it was somebody, but I didn’t think it was Shawn. I thought it was Alex Smith because it sounded just like him. But he was talking to me. I’m telling him thank you while he’s pushing me.”
Richardson finished with 122 yards on the ground and averaged 5.1 yards per carry against a run defense which entered the game allowing 3.5 per.
The performance wowed the Browns’ Hall of Famer who called Richardson “ordinary” on draft day.
“He’s showing a lot of heart and a lot of talent,” Brown said. “This is his rookie year. You only have so many games, and you saw what could do today. And nobody knows how severe those ribs are but he’s got the right attitude. He’s a good kid, and he’s got the talent. And he’s shown the talent.”
After the game, Brown used a few different adjectives to describe the rookie running back.
Leader. Heart. Determination.
“He’s done everything I thought he should do,” Brown said. “He never took anything I said the wrong way. He’s interested in his family, he’s interested in this team, and he’s willing to make sacrifices, because really, he’s hurt more than you think he is right now. But he performed today under circumstances where he didn’t have to go out there. And that’s hard to do.”
Brown was asked, ‘So how good can Richardson be?’
“Oh, we don’t talk about things like that, we’re talking about next week,” Brown said with a laugh. “He’s showing everybody he can run the ball, he can break tackles. And he can break tackles in the National Football League, and that’s what he did today. That touchdown had about three to four tackles that he broke, and those quick movements and the body strength, the low sense of gravity, the acceleration, that’s all there.”
Brown, cast aside by outgoing president Mike Holmgren in 2010, sees new life being breathed into a once proud franchise turned doormat for the NFL.
“The team and the organization seem to be heading in the right direction,” Brown said. “Jimmy Haslam brought a spirit here that we haven’t seen in a long time. And the team is responding to that, and they’re looking better. And of course, this victory today was a great one. So, if you look at the Cleveland Browns right now, the future holds nothing but better things, in my opinion.”
Sunday’s slop and rain was a day tailor made for Brown who was asked to remember running in similar conditions at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium which is where Cleveland Browns Stadium now resides.
“A lot of games, man, this is Cleveland weather,” Brown said. “What do you mean do I remember? Of course I remember. All that rain and slippery and stuff like that.”
They’re made for Trent too.