BEREA—Rookie Trent Richardson revealed the day after the regular season finished that he played the majority of the season with ‘two or three’ broken ribs suffered in a game with the Bengals. Throughout the season, it was referred to as a ‘rib’ or ‘cartilage’ injury. He said he was in a lot of pain for much of the season.
“It was really tough,” Richardson said. “It hurt a lot on impact. The first three or four weeks I had to have people help me dress.”
He was asked if he was satisfied with his rookie season when he broke Jim Brown’s rookie records for rushing touchdowns and rushing yards set back in 1957.
“You think I’m coming back next year having another season like this?” Richardson said. “I highly doubt it. When OTAs come around, I see me flying around and I won’t have that big vest (flak jacket) on.”
Richardson also disclosed that he hasn’t been able to lie on his back and has to sit up to sleep.
Richardson missed the final game of the season with a sprained foot, but still finished with 950 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 51 passes and scored a touchdown in 15 games.
Brandon Weeden was asked about Richardson’s condition.
“It’s unbelievable,” Weeden said. “Most guys would have shut it down.”
Weeden knows what Richardson can do when healthy.
“We saw what he could do,” Weeden said. “He’s a very talented back and he was somewhat limited (for most of the season).”
Richardson had no off-season program and little training camp as he had arthroscopic surgery early in the camp on his knee and missed the entire preseason.
“I didn’t have any time in training camp with the line to really be good,” he said. “I wasn’t satisfied with my season at all.”
Richardson doesn’t think a change in coaches will affect him, if they switch out of the West Coast offense.
“I don’t think it will impact me,” he said. “I still think I’ll touch the ball and be involved whatever the offense is.”
Uncertain Times: The Browns will soon have their fourth coach in the last five years and the players said they have to stay the course. There was a similar tone with most of the players.
”Uncertainty is always hard to deal with,” T.J. Ward who will have his third coach in four seasons said. “With us players, we just have to do our jobs and that’s all you can do.”
Jabaal Sheard agreed.
“We have no control of those things,” he said. “As players, we just have to play.”
“We just have to play for whoever the head coach is,” Greg Little said. “I’ve never gone through something like this.
“I believe we’re in the stage of developing,” he said. “I’m disappointed we had the kind of season we had. It’s the nature of the business.”
Brandon Weeden said it was more on the players than the coaches.
“It’s part of the business,” Weeden said. “Unfortunately, part of the business is we didn’t win enough game and that’s not on Pat, that’s on us (as players).”
The players trust that Haslam and Banner will get it right.
“It’s the first move the new owners made,” Phil Dawson said. “I trust the decision makers will do the right thing.”
“Everything is about winning,” Ward said. “Mr Haslam and Mr. Banner are going to do the right things.”
TRich on Saban: RB Trent Richardson also changed his thoughts a bit on whether Alabama coach Nick Saban might join the Browns.
When Richardson was told that Jimmy Haslam said he was looking for strong leadership and described a ‘hard-nosed’ coach, a reporter suggested that sounded like his former coach at Alabama.
“It would be tough to convince coach Saban when his mind is made up,” he said. “But, I hope we can make a run at him.”
Richardson was asked if he thought there was any chance of that happening.
“I doubt it,” he said. “I highly doubt it.”
Weeden Confident and Anxious: QB Brandon Weeden said he hasn’t talked with Banner about where he stands. Banner said everyone in the organization, including the quarterback would be evaluated when he was hired in October.
“I haven’t spoken with Mr. Banner,” he said. “I have confidence in myself. There are areas I could be better. I agree with Pat (Shurmur) that the biggest jump is from the first year to the second year.”
Weeden missed the final game with a sprained shoulder and finished the season with 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and a rating of 72.6.
“I’m confident and anxious,” he said. “You never know what route they will decide to go. Mr. Haslam and Mr. Banner know what they’re doing and I have full confidence in them.”
Free Agency: K Phil Dawson hopes to return to the Browns, but knows there are a lot of variables right now.
“There will be a time and place (for those decisions),” he said. “It’s not reasonable now.
Dawson said he is not planning on retiring as of yet.
“I’ll go home and am open to talking to anyone,” he said. “I need a job.”
TE Ben Watson is also at the end of a contract and hopes to continue playing with the Browns.
“I’m optimistic,” Watson said. “But I don’t know. I think as guys we’re waiting to see what happens.”