The early season draft pick-for-Trent Richardson swap between the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts was heralded as a blockbuster deal, with many taking the opportunity to criticize the Browns for trading away a former No. 3 overall pick a little more than one season into his career. Richardson has gone on to average just 2.8 yards per carry for the Colts, however. After he was benched as the team's starting running back last week, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the Colts received the raw end of the deal.
"I think it's only fair that Donald is the starter, especially the production he's been putting up and the numbers," Richardson said. "He's been playing good ball. I tell people all the time that when I first got here, they thought it was a two-headed monster with me and Ahmad [Bradshaw]. I always said it was a three-headed monster."
As for himself, Richardson said that he has struggled to acclimate to offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's offense. Richardson said that he is thinking too hard on the field instead of relying on his instincts, and he is playing slower as a result.
"It slows you down," Richardson said. "Trust me, it's a lot different. When you're thinking about it, it really slows you down.
"I talked to my granddaddy and uncle, and they said, 'No matter what, you're still Trent Richardson. You're hard on yourself because you expect a lot out of yourself. That's how you've always been.'"
Richardson still has two more years left on his contract at a relatively cheap rate with the Browns absorbing the big guaranteed signing bonus that comes with a top five selection in the NFL Draft. A source indicated to ESPN that the Colts are unlikely to jettison Richardson during the offseason, giving him a long layoff to study Hamilton's system and potentially get back to the instinctive running abilities that once made him a surefire pro prospect.
Whether Richardson becomes the player many expected him to be remains to be seen. Running backs tend to burn bright then fizzle quickly, and the fact that Richardson's NFL career has begun with a flicker may not bode well for his future. Three months into his tenure with the Colts, he doesn't look like an NFL starter just yet.