The Baltimore Ravens waived veteran running back Trent Richardson on Tuesday, just one week into the team's training camp.
The Ravens announced the move on their official Twitter feed. The organization signed wide receiver Chuck Jacobs to fill the open roster spot. On Wednesday, Ed Werder of ESPN, citing a source, reported Richardson was released because the team needed a wide receiver to practice. However, Werder did note it's a "possibility" Richardson could return to the team at some point.
Head coach John Harbaugh also spoke about Richardson's release on Wednesday, via the team:
Richardson has never lived up to the hype after getting selected with the third overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2012. Following his lackluster rookie season in Cleveland, the Browns traded Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts two games into his sophomore campaign, but he continued to underwhelm. After his release by the Colts in 2015, Richardson signed with the Oakland Raiders but was cut before the regular season, and he spent the season out of football.
The 26-year-old back hoped joining the Ravens would allow him to turn his career around. He told Garrett Downing of the team's official site in June that it was time to leave those prior failures in the past and start writing a new career story.
"I'm doing everything I can, and putting in all the work I can to be great. And I'm going to be great," Richardson said. "Next year, I don't even expect anyone to say anything about Cleveland, Oakland or the Colts. I figure we'll be saying, 'How did you prove everybody wrong?'"
Unfortunately for the Alabama product, injuries derailed those high hopes. He missed part of the team's organized team activities due to a hamstring injury, and then he needed knee surgery, per ESPN.com, which landed him on the physically unable to perform list heading into camp.
It reached a point where the Ravens decided to move forward without him given their already-crowded backfield depth chart. Javorius Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West will all battle for playing time behind starter Justin Forsett.
Richardson was a long shot to carve out an important role. He's averaged 3.3 yards across 614 career carries, well below the average benchmark of four yards per carry. In addition, his longest play from scrimmage is just 32 yards.
Clifton Brown of CSN Mid-Atlantic doesn't believe the veteran was ever in line to make the squad:
His reputation as a top-five draft pick is likely the only thing that allows new opportunities to arise. Teams hope raw talent will eventually shine through, but the injury issues and mundane on-field production persist.
Richardson could get another chance to prove himself should teams start dealing with health problems during training camp and the preseason. But he'll first need to prove his knee is all the way back to full strength.