Cleveland Browns: Do Not Rush the Browns' New Rusher

Derek TalibContributor IIIAugust 10, 2012

June 29, 2012; Berea, OH USA: Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson during the AFC rookie symposium at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility.  Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE

Cleveland fans hold their breath as they wait on the true status on their first round draft pick Trent Richardson. The truth of the matter is that no matter how much he recovers and what he does, this year his knee will not be right for a whole year. Next year, Trent Richardson should be 100 percent on that surgically repaired knee. Knowing that Trent Richardson has a knee issue was not the problem, not preparing for Trent Richardson’s knee problem “is” the problem.

Rookies, especially running backs, do not get the break that other NFL players get after the season. They play their regular college games, then it is bowl season for major teams. After bowl season  they are preparing for senior bowls or blue gray games. Now it is off to train for the combine, from the combine it is pro days, after pro days it is individual workouts and finally the draft. 

The draft is quickly followed by mini camps, from mini camps to two-a-days. If a player has had surgery like Richardson, the structure of the knee will need time to recover, but the athlete never gets that full complement of time as they know they will be called to perform prior to the draft if at all possible. If Richardson could not perform at his pro day, the Browns may have gone receiver with that pick. Richardson needs these next few weeks to just rest his body and especially that knee.

Most Browns fans wanted to draft the premier running back, but most fans also were concerned about that knee surgery he had at the end of the season. There was nothing wrong with the plan on drafting Trent Richardson so high. He potentially is a can't miss prospect. Cleveland did not truly prepare for Richardson getting injured. 

Logic would state that if you are drafting a franchise running back, that has recently undergone surgery they should  have secured a  better veteran back up or at the very least keep the one they had.

The argument could be made that Cleveland has Brandon Jackson and Monterio Hardesty, and wanted to give them both a chance to compete for the backup role. Chris Ogbonnaya showed flashes last year of being able to give you a good couple of games and ability to fill in on spot duty, but is not a premiere talent by any stretch of the imagination.

I still am scratching my head at why they got rid of Peyton Hillis when they could have kept him on cheap. Peyton Hillis and Richardson would have been a nice tandem. Instead, the Browns let his bad negotiating skills push him out the door. As bad as negotiations are going with the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh is not about to let him go over hurt feelings.


Richardson's knee issues are not going to hold him back unless the Browns rush him onto the field. If he is ready by game one, they should give him till game two. I am a strong believer in what the doctor says plus one. It is better to have him rest and be fully recovered than just rush him to the field and risk long term damage.

New ownership may have Mike Holmgren and crew pressing the fast forward button. Mike Holmgren has been patient—a bit too patient with the rebuilding effort in Cleveland. The year wasted on Eric Mangini is just that— a year wasted.

Before (Jimmy)Haslam took over the team, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert talked a good game, but now they have to produce wins and not talk about the "philosophy" of how long it takes to build long term success. Hard to convince a fan base who just watched a rookie quarterback and receiver put a team in the playoffs—from the same division and state no less. The heat is up, and that may have Trent Richardson called into action before he is totally healed.

For Browns fans, it is my hope that Trent Richardson's knee is a minor glitch, and Joe Hadden, Phil Taylor and Scott Fujita all rebound from injuries or suspensions (if they are imposed). It has been a long time and it is time for the team to turn it around—Trent Richardson or no Trent Richardson.