Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rebuilding Browns bail on Richardson

Deal running back to Colts for draft pick

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BEREA, Ohio -- Trent Richardson didn't fit into the Browns' plans. They're pushing forward without him.

Cleveland traded the powerful running back to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, a stunning move just two games into this season and only one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.

Richardson was dealt for a first-round selection in next year's draft, when the Browns will have two opening-round picks and 10 overall. Cleveland is rebuilding and the team hopes to use those picks -- seven in the first four rounds -- to help turn around a floundering franchise mired in losing for more than a decade.

Such a reversal was what the Browns had in mind when they took Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft. The former Alabama star seemed to have it all: power, speed and good hands.

But Richardson apparently isn't the kind of back Cleveland's front office wants or one for first-year coach Rob Chudzinski's offensive system. Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards as a rookie despite playing most of last season with two broken ribs, gained just 105 yards on 31 carries in Cleveland's two losses this season.

He lacked the explosiveness the Browns' new regime was looking for, and it may not have helped that Richardson made it clear he wanted the ball more.

The shocking trade came on the same day Chudzinski announced that third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday against Minnesota. Hoyer got the surprising nod over backup Jason Campbell to fill in for starter Brandon Weeden, who is sidelined with a sprained right thumb.

Like Richardson, Weeden's days could be numbered in Cleveland, where the Browns have started 19 quarterbacks since 1999 and are still looking for the right one. Next year's draft class includes several top-flight QBs and the Browns could be loading up on picks to make sure they get one.

In addition, the Browns are bringing in free agent running back Willis McGahee for a physical and will sign him if he passes. A two-time Pro Bowl pick, McGahee was most recently with Denver.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2013 D5

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