BEREA—Even though it’s just May, murmurs abound that Trent Richardson is injury-prone after news that the second-year running back has been held out of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) the past two weeks with a leg injury.
However, Richardson wants to set the record straight.
“It’s nothing to worry about,” Richardson said after Thursday’s practice. “I could be out there practicing.”
Richardson displayed extreme toughness in 2012 as he missed just one game in 2012, despite playing with broken ribs for much of the season. He also missed all of training camp after arthroscopic surgery on his knee and started the season opener. Richardson said he will visit Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. for just a checkup on his repaired knee.
“People say stuff like I’m injury-prone,” Richardson said. “It’s a mind set. That’s not me.”
Rob Chudzinski said Richardson is being held out strictly for precautionary reasons.
“He’s coming along,” he said. “As we get closer to minicamp, we’ll see if he can go.”
Chudzinski said last week that Richardson might be held out of minicamp.
Brandon Weeden said it is more important to have Richardson ready for training camp and the season.
“We need Trent back,” he said. “That’s why it’s good for him to take some time now. He is important and we need him for training camp. He’s too vital to this offense.”
Richardson said he has been running on the side and it’s tearing him up not practicing.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “I know in my mind (I can practice). I just can’t wait to be out there. I’m just staying in shape, but I want to be out there.”
Meanwhile, with Richardson sidelined, Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya and Dion Lewis have been getting the reps.
“Montario is a good companion back,” Chudzinski said. “He’s more of a slasher. Dion has really stepped it up and those guys are getting more comfortable with the offense.”
Richardson said he doesn’t know how he injured his lower leg. He said it was during practice and the Browns have called it a lower leg strain.
“I can still practice,” he said. “I was out there running while I was out there (during practice).”
Richardson isn’t worried about falling behind in the install of the new offense.
“I’m aware of everything, so I’m on top of my game,” he said. “I’m still going through everything every day.”
Richardson has talked to Emmitt Smith, who played in the offense that offensive coordinator Norv Turner is installing with the Browns on his way to a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.
“I’ve talked to lot of those guys that have been in the system, and they told me the system is built for me.”
Richardson is hoping to be a big part of the Browns new-look offense.
“I think I will (be),” he said. “In fact, I know I will (be). I’ve talked to Norv and he said he sees me being the bell cow.”
Tough Coaching: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been very vocal during practices and the quarterback is getting a lot of the verbiage.
“I’m used to it, coming from Oklahoma State,” Weeden said. “He’s yelling at me and he coaches me every play. I can’t ask for anything more. He expects more out of me. You don’t want to play scared, but you have to play error free at this level.”
Weeden said he already can see the results of Turner’s tutelage.
“I try not to make the same mistake twice,” he said. “He is making me a better player.”
Weeden says he likes Turner’s style.
“(The offense) takes on his personality,” he said. “A lot of guys won’t take shots in certain situations, but that’s his mentality. I love it.”
Chudzinski said coaches have to know what will help get the most out of their players.
“You’re always looking for is what are the best ways to get your guys to respond.”
Bryant, Cameron Back: TE Jordan Cameron was back at practice after missing last week’s OTAs with a groin injury. Also, DL Desmond Bryant returned to the field after missing last week dealing with a legal issue.
On the Side: Working with the trainers during practice were rookies DB Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles) and OL Chris Faulk (knee). Also, sitting out was WR Jordan Norwood (undisclosed) and WR David Nelson (knee).
Excused: OLB Paul Kruger was absent in what was described as a family obligation. Kruger was replaced by top draft choice LB Barkevious Mingo and LB Quinten Groves in the rotation.
No. 32’s Return: Coach Rob Chudzinski expressed his excitement on the return of Jim Brown to the team as ‘Special Advisor’.
“To have Jim Brown back, I am really excited about that,” he said. “I got to know him from before when I was here. He’s a fantastic person for the things he’s done. I’m getting excited for him and what he can do to help the Cleveland Browns.”
Richardson said he thinks having Brown around will be awesome.
“It’s an honor to have him in the building,” Richardson said. “I will get advice from him. He’s old school and we need more of that.
“He will always be a legend and an icon,” Richardson said. “His job is to make sure we’re doing the right things on and off the field.”
FB Role: Chudzinski was asked about his role of the fullback position. Currently, the Browns have just FB Owen Marecic is the only player on the roster listed as a fullback. Brad Smelley was listed last year as a FB/TE. Currently, he’s listed just as a tight end.
“I’ve never had a true definition of what the guy has been just because it’s been so different,” Chudzinski said.
Chudzinski said that the position will play itself out in training camp.
“It’s more of what the guys do well and whether it’s a hammer blocking type guy or more of a finesse receiver,” he said. “It’s more of what the guys can do and when we get the pads on, we’ll see.”
Marecic was replaced last season by TE Alex Smith at the position. So far, the Browns have not added a fullback to the roster. It is unknown if the Browns will use more of a one-back system or two backs without a true fullback.
Weeden Helping Out: QB Brandon Weeden flew back to Oklahoma last Thursday night after OTAs finished and helped with the cleanup after the tornado devastated his native state.
“I flew in late Thursday night and checked on my in-laws,” he said. “My mother-in- law was lucky, but my brother-in-law’s place suffered more damage.”
Weeden said he helped his family and then pitched in with the neighbors.
“I just went house to house to see what we could do,” he said. “I watched all the coverage and it was worse than what I could have imagined. It will take some time.”