CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson feels he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential.
In his eyes, a pair of injuries have held him back.
Richardson missed training camp after undergoing a second procedure in 6 months on his left knee.
In week 6, he sustained a right rib cartilage injury in the first half, then departed in the 3rd quarter of a 34-24 win over the Bengals.
Still not at 100 percent, Richardson’s knee and ribs will get a week to rest and heal some more.
“The bye week is going to be big for me as far as having the rib injury,” Richardson said. “It’s never been where I can be at 100 percent yet, so I’m waiting for that moment. So whenever my ribs do heal, it’s going to make a big difference having this bye week. When they heal 100 percent, I don’t know, will it be over this bye week, but whenever it does, it’s going to be a whole ‘nother Trent out there.”
The quote put a smile on the face of head coach Pat Shurmur, who is now coaching for his job when they return from the bye week.
“That’s awesome,” Shurmur said. “I see a young man that’s a rookie fighting through an NFL season and sometimes that deals with playing with injuries, soreness what have you. I see a guy that realizes that he physically can get a little better, and he knows that will help his performance, so that’s good.
“I hope he gets better.”
Following his career-high 25 carries for 105 yards against the Ravens, Richardson was named a finalist for the Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week award for the second week in a row.
He’ll be hard pressed to win because Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin is also a nominee. Martin, who was taken No. 31 overall in April, ran for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns on 25 carries Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“That dude is blessed, man,” Richardson said. “The way he’s running ball, it’s tremendous. I expected all of that from him.”
Richardson was asked if he has a 250-yard game in him.
“Oh, yeah. I’m due for one,” Richardson said. “In this league it’s kind of tough to get one, but if it happens, it happens.”
Despite being limited in 2 of the 9 games Richardson has tied a franchise record with 3, 100-yard efforts, including each of the last 2 weeks.
Jim Brown didn’t even do that, but he’s not satisfied.
There’s only 1 thing on Richardson’s mind.
“To win,” Richardson said. “If it [takes] 100-yard games then it’s 100-yard games. If it [takes] 50-yard games then it’s 50-yard games. As long as we’re winning and doing everything we can fundamentally to put ourselves in a better situation to win the game.”
Among rookies, he is tied for second in points (36), second in receptions (31), third in yards from scrimmage (815), third in first downs (31), third in rushing yards (575) and seventh in receiving yards (240).
While Richardson has looked like Superman at times, 3rd and 1 is his Kryptonite.
“The game is much bigger than me,” Richardson said. “I always feel that I can get it but I don;t make the play calls so whatever coach thinks that is going to put the offense in the best situation, we have to go along with it.
“So whatever coach throws out there, I’m ready for it.”
This season, the Browns are are 8-of-18 in 3rd and 1 situations – 4-of-8 on passes and 4-of-10 on runs.
“I think they know what they’re doing,” Richardson said. “I think they’re just trying to put me in different positions whether it’s catching the ball or running the ball. Just do things to [maximize] my ability.
“They know exactly what they are doing or they wouldn’t have their jobs if they didn’t. They’re just trying to find different way to get me the ball, get me in space, stuff like that.”
With the Browns at 2-7 and the 3rd worst team in the NFL behind only Kansas City and Jacksonville, Richardson wants to prevent a second half collapse with nothing but the draft to look forward to.
“I’m very excited about these last 7 games,” Richardson said. “We can make a big difference, especially what people think about the Cleveland Browns. We can write our own story right here, write a big chapter right here about the men on this team and what we want our season to end like.”