Buying or Selling Trent Richardson Being Benched for Play, Not Injury

Lou RomContributor IOctober 21, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Trent Richardson struggled so much in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium that Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur sat him for the second half of the Browns' 17-13 loss to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

Almost immediately, the Twittersphere blew up with speculation over whether Richardson was truly injured or his benching was just about poor play after he managed only eight yards on eight carries in the first half. He also caught two passes for 11 yards.

In his own defense, Richardson claims he was definitely hurting.

"The injury was pretty bad, I guess it limited me a lot," Richardson said. "It hurt me inside just not being out there. ... I didn't want to come out," Richardson told

"Pat knows what's best. He made his decision. I think he made a great decision. It's something I've got to deal with it," he added.

But not everyone was buying the injury angle. Pro Football Talk tweeted:


Trent Richardson wasn't injured, wasn't effective

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 21, 2012



Richardson (ribs) started the road game, but Coach Pat Shurmur saw all he needed to see in the first half, sitting the rookie for the last 30 minutes.

Richardson left last week's victory over the Bengals with the injury. He practiced all week, but was playing in a flak jacket. was not buying either.


Trent Richardson was essentially benched b/c he wasn't effective with his injury. No way of really knowing, since he worked out all week.

— (@Fantasy_Guru) October 21, 2012



Through six games, Richardson has 348 yards on 103 carries with three touchdowns.

Richardson handled the ball on the first three snaps of the game and told Shurmur he did not need to come out. But after the game, he said Shurmur made the right call.

Impossible to tell if Richardson was pulled because of the lingering effect of his injury or simply poor performance.

But given that he practiced all week, it looks like Shurmur was likely sending a message to his star rookie that more was expected of him.

Lou Rom, a veteran journalist with more than 17 years experience, covers the NFL, his hometown New York Giants and whatever else gets under his skin for Bleacher Report.