Trent Richardson to Ravens: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

Oakland Raiders running back Trent Richardson (33) warms up before an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Running back Trent Richardson is getting another chance to prove his worth at the NFL level.

The Baltimore Ravens announced that they signed the former Alabama superstar on April 18, with the hopes that he will once again tap into the talent that made him such a promising prospect in his younger days.

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

LFW: Trent Richardson has shed some serious weight. 📄: https://t.co/2T4xR4vCBR https://t.co/Ehs6eGvfaZ

On April 21, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported Richardson signed a one-year contract worth $675,000 with $0 guaranteed.

Matt Zenitz of AL.com reported on Feb. 25 that Richardson was "expected to sign" with the Ravens.

The running back is familiar with the AFC North, since the Cleveland Browns selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft. It wasn't hard to see why at the time after he played for two national championship teams at Alabama and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting (behind Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck).

Richardson had high-profile SEC games under his belt and was versatile enough in college to run between the tackles or around the outside, and he also got involved in the passing game.

Cleveland received an impressive 950 rushing yards, 367 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns during his rookie campaign, although his average of 3.6 yards per carry was a red flag.

Richardson never replicated his first-season production with the Browns or as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, who traded a first-round pick for the Alabama product in 2013. He hasn't appeared in a regular-season contest since 2014 and posted an abysmal average of 3.3 yards per carry over 46 career games from 2012 to 2014.

NFL Network highlighted just how bad it got statistically for Richardson:

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Trent Richardson has the 2nd-worst career rush average of any player with at least 500 carries since the 1960s http://t.co/KknnYJBTJ4

SportsCenter's Twitter account shared commentator Ryan Clark's harsh view on the running back:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Ryan Clark did not mince words when talking about Trent Richardson on @FirstTake. http://t.co/YCuGJ7o1W7

The Oakland Raiders brought Richardson aboard before the 2015 campaign but ultimately released him following a lackluster showing in the preseason (15 carries for 42 yards).

Despite the lack of production, Richardson seemed to believe in himself this past offseason when he appeared on Fox Sports' Outkick The Show (via Ross Jones of FoxSports.com): "When I get back in this league, they're going to hate me. They're going to love me, but they're going to hate me because I'm going to come back. ... And I can't wait until I get back."

That type of confidence is likely a welcome sign for the Ravens, even though Richardson will have to work to see the field and move up the depth chart.

When the signing appeared likely in late February, Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk called this pairing a "no-risk look at a guy who once was OK," while Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com pointed to a deep group of running backs in Baltimore that included Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Terrance West.

Still, the Ravens were an abysmal 26th in the league in rushing yards in 2015 and could use reinforcements at the running back position:

2015 Stats: Ravens Running Backs
PlayerGamesRushing YardsRushing TouchdownsYards per Carry
Justin Forsett1064124.2
Lorenzo Taliaferro34713.6
Javorius Allen1651413.8
Terrance West6 (with Baltimore)18003.9
Source: ESPN.com

Even if the Ravens need to improve their rushing totals, the fact that another team signed Richardson is a testament to the power of the draft. The thinking likely goes that he was once the No. 3 overall pick, so he must logically have some untapped upside in his game.

Perhaps Baltimore can be the one to "fix" him as he finally fulfills the potential so many saw years ago.

It doesn't hurt that he is still only 25 years old and should theoretically have a handful of prime-production years ahead.

It may seem like wishful thinking, but it was a chance the Ravens were willing to take.


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