Richardson earns respect of teammates

Posted Jan 3, 2013

By playing through injuries in 2012, rookie running back Trent Richardson earned the respect of his teammates.

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson ran for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns during his rookie season in the NFL, and much of that production came after he suffered a rib injury in an October win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Of Richardson’s 950 rushing yards, 610 came after the Cincinnati game, as did seven of his 11 touchdowns.

Richardson also battled knee issues through the early part of training camp that required surgery and prevented him from plyaing in the preseason.

“It’s unbelievable,” Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “Most guys would shut it down. Most guys would just completely shut it down and say, ‘Oh, I’m getting paid.’ That’s not his thing. He’s a competitor. He knew how tough a player he was and how much he meant to this team. I applaud him. It was amazing what he was able to do with such a beat-up body.”

Despite the injuries, Richardson showed glimpses of what he can do when healthy.

In back-to-back weeks, Richardson ran for 122 yards in a win over the San Diego Chargers (Oct. 28), and 105 in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 4). Following the team’s annual bye week, Richardson ran for 95 yards on 28 carries at Dallas (Nov. 11).

He also ran for at least one touchdown in four straight games twice this season, first from Sept. 16 at Cincinnati to Oct. 7 at the New York Giants, and later, from Nov. 25 against Pittsburgh to Dec. 16 against Washington.

In the later of the two stretches, Richardson ran for two touchdowns against both the Kansas City Chiefs and Redskins.

“We saw what he can do,” Weeden said. “He’s a talented, talented back. There were games, right after (the rib injury) happened, where he was a little bit limited, but he still fought through it, didn’t make excuses. I think we’ve all seen what he’s capable of.”

Having teamed up with Richardson during his days at the University of Alabama, fullback/tight end Brad Smelley was not surprised to see the first-year rusher’s production.

“Trent played well all season and ran tough,” Smelley said. “He had a really good year. I know he was hurting a lot of the season, but he’s a competitor. He’s just going to push through and that’s what he did. He pushed through and worked, kept taking hits, kept getting back up, and kept running through hits. He’s a special player and it shows on Sundays.”

“You know he’s working hard back there for you and he is going to be able to make a guy or two miss. It’s just extra incentive to block for him because you see how hard he runs and how hard he plays the game. It makes you want to step your game up that much more.”

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