September 18, 2013. A day Colts fans will never forget. It was on this day that the Colts acquired their best running back since Edgerrin James; the one who would put their offense over the top from good to great; the one who would greatly boost the team's Super Bowl chances.
Or something like that.
At the time, a lot of people were happy about the trade, but there were also those upset by it. I was much more in the first category. After all, I thought, how could acquiring a running back with a lot of talent who was taken third overall in the draft just a year earlier be a bad addition? I didn't love giving up a first round pick for a running back, but I thought that if the Colts were going to give up a first round pick for a back, I didn't mind it being Richardson.
A year later, the trade doesn't look too good. Actually, it looks terrible. Last year with the Colts, Richardson averaged just 2.9 yards per carry and did more to hurt the team than he did to help it. In the offseason, we heard talk about how once he got into the offseason program and training camp, we'd see a new Richardson. And we all hoped for it, but weren't sure. All along I said that we've seen the worst of Richardson, and I fully believe that. But just how much improved would he be? So far, we haven't seen a ton of it. Last week against the Eagles, he looked better than he ever has in a Colts uniform - and still fumbled twice.
"He had one of his better games as a Colt on Monday night and we're looking to build on that success," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said today while reflecting on the trade. "Success is a great motivator. I think he's in a good place and we're excited about Trent continuing to develop and grow and we want him to have continued success moving forward."
"It's been one of the best business moves, it's been one of the best things to ever happen in my life other than my kids, other than getting drafted," Trent Richardson said today, also reflecting on the trade. "It's one of the best things I have done and have accomplished. Last week, people said that's one of my best games but I fumbled twice. Me running hard, that's me, and people didn't get to see that last year because, just to say it, I was confused. I didn't know. Now I do know, and I do know what I need to do, I do know where my eyes need to be, I do know what my quarterback's talking about, I do know what my offensive line's talking about, and I can study the other team now. It's not like I don't know.
"So I'm going to run hard consistently, and now to me it's just playing consistent. It's just me preparing and doing what I can do, just like I was just doing a few minutes ago. Me and Ahmad (Bradshaw), we were running wind sprints after practice, we just ran 14 of them. That's one thing we say we're going to do, we're going to be in better shape. We're not going to get fatigued. We're going to do everything we can to put the team on our back."
Talking about getting adjusted last year, Richardson talked about how he loves being a Colt. "It didn't even hit me until after the game, until the second game when I was in Jacksonville, like, ‘I'm actually a Colt,'" Richardson said. "I never thought I'd be playing for the Colts. It's always been a dream and watching Edgerrin James, watching the great running backs, Marshall (Faulk), come through. Watching those guys, it's always been a dream to be a Colt. So when I finally got here, I was like, ‘I still can't believe that I'm a Colt.'"
I give Trent Richardson a lot of credit - he's never shied away from the media or questions, even while struggling, and he has been a class act through it all. Just based on all of that (not including the fact that I'm a Colts fan), I hope Richardson succeeds. The Colts aren't giving up on him after one year, but the first year has been very rough.
Happy anniversary of the Richardson trade, Colts fans! Hopefully year two will be much happier than the first year.