The two wooden lockers Trent Richardson used daily were barren,
nothing left behind from his short stay with the Browns.
Face of the franchise one day. Gone the next.
Still somewhat shaken by the new front office’s decision to
trade Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft
pick, the few Browns who ventured into the locker room on Thursday
expressed shock at the deal, it’s timing and they vowed to move
forward in a season not yet three weeks old.
”It was a shock to everybody,” receiver Josh Gordon said.
”Everyone was in disbelief.”
With an eye toward the future, the Browns shipped Richardson,
the No. 3 overall pick in 2012 and one of their few players with
star magnitude, to the Colts for a selection in next year’s draft.
But the alarming move to trade the powerful running back raised a
flag for Cleveland’s long-suffering fans, who view the hasty
transaction as a sign that Browns’ management is throwing away this
season to better align itself for 2014 and beyond.
”That’s not even realistic,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said.
”In this business, there is too much pressure on everyone to win.
I can’t even fathom that.”
To offset the loss of Richardson and add depth at running back,
the Browns signed free agent Willis McGahee. He spent last season
with Denver, leading the Broncos with 731 yards. The nine-year
veteran passed his physical as the Browns were practicing, worked
out for Cleveland’s coaches and signed his contract.
Like everyone, Jackson was caught off guard by Richardson’s
trade. Jackson had left the team’s facility and was at home getting
a massage Wednesday when he heard. Once the initial shock wore off,
Jackson chalked it up to life with the Browns.
”I’ve been around here for a long time and I’ve seen a lot
happen and that’s one of those deals where it’s out of your hands
and out of your control,” he said. ”I’m not saying that he’s not
a good player. He’s just going to be a good player for another
organization, and the powers that be felt like that was the best
thing for the team and we’ve got to move forward.”
Jackson said there’s no time to dwell on the trade, which came
within hours of the Browns naming third-string quarterback Brian
Hoyer their starter Sunday in Minnesota, and wide receiver Greg
Little losing his starting job. Hoyer got the nod over backup Jason
Campbell to fill in for Brandon Weeden, sidelined with a sprained
As a captain, Jackson’s duty is to keep his teammates
”I think in the locker room, guys will talk about it for today
and then we’ve got work to do,” he said. ”We’ve got a lot of
studying to do, a lot of film to watch, we’re trying to get the
first win. So, yeah, it’s going to be in the back of our minds. We
wish Trent the best of luck. But we’ve still got a job to do.
”We have to put our hard hats on.”
That was the same message delivered by Browns coach Rob
Chudzinski, who reminded his players to lock in on the Vikings.
”We still have to go out and do what we do,” safety T.J. Ward
said. ”Nothing changed for us. It’s the same road. We’ve just got
to go out there, hold it down for the defensive side of the
Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, who signed as a free agent in
March, doesn’t think the trade is a sign of surrender.
”Definitely not,” he said. ”We’re out there and we put in
work every day to win. This doesn’t change that, so right now we’re
working to beat Minnesota and we’re going to continue to do that. I
respect the decision they made.”
Jackson appreciates why some Cleveland fans are in an uproar
over Richardson’s departure. Once considered a building block, he
wasn’t around long enough to make a major impact.
”Trent was going to be the face of this organization, a high
draft pick, much was expected out of him,” Jackson said. ”Now
that he’s gone, I can see the frustration of the fans. The die-hard
fans thought we had something in Trent.
”That’s the ugly side of the business we can’t control.”
NOTES: Weeden visited a hand specialist, but the team provided
no update. … DE Ahtyba Rubin practiced again and could make his
debut after missing two games with a calf injury. … Offensive
coordinator Norv Turner believes Richardson will thrive in Indy.
”A lot of times players’ success depends on the situation they’re
in and the people around them,” he said. ”I think he’s going to
have an opportunity to be real successful.”
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