Colts running back Trent Richardson had a disappointing 2013 regular season. His trade from the Cleveland Browns, in exchange for a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, is presently considered one of the biggest busts in recent memory.
Harsh, but true.
However, that doesn't mean redemption can't come in the form of some 2014 playoff magic.
Richardson was one of the players made available to media on New Year's Day, and he was very candid when asked how the regular season went for him as the Colts' running back. His honesty and his intelligence make it hard not to root for him. When asked about how far he's come since the Colts acquired him in late-September 2013, Richardson replied:
I probably knew five players' names when I first got here. When I first got on the field, I just knew how to run left or right. And, to go up field. Other than that, probably the third or fourth week, I knew the cadence. Like, what the play is on. Is it on three, or what? That's when I found that out.
Richardson credited quarterback Andrew Luck specifically for helping him get ready for each game.
While it's not an excuse for Richardson's sub par play in 2013, his unfamiliarity with the Colts offense, their personnel, and the franchise overall likely contributed significantly to his struggles. How many running backs get traded two games into a regular season and produce big numbers immediately?
At the end of the day, Richardson will be judged by what he produces on the field, especially when it comes to rushing yards per carry and touchdowns scored. Next season, the "I didn't know" reasoning won't be available to him. It's also worth noting that Richardson didn't exactly light the world on fire in Cleveland despite an offensive line that would feature two eventual Pro Bowlers in left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack.
However, the front office of the Browns, once lauded for their "brilliant" trade of Richardson, has since been compared to The Three Stooges following their decision to fire head coach Rod Chudzinski after just one season.
It was a move Richardson himself said he was surprised by. Based on how he spoke about his former team, one got the sense that Richardson is very happy to be out of Cleveland.
From what I knew, they loved Chud there. So, I was very shocked about it. Everybody was shocked I got traded too. So, like I said, I happened like it happened. It's a business. Do I feel sorry for people? Like I said, it's a business.
Perhaps, when all is said and done, the Colts will wind up getting the better end of this trade. Richardson could change the narrative significantly if he has a productive game against the Chiefs in the playoffs on Saturday.