Richardson says ribs are finally healed
BEREA – Trent Richardson can finally sleep without suffering pain every time he rolls on his side, which might be the best news of the offseason for the Browns.
Richardson suffered through a painful rookie season in 2012 after cracking two ribs in a week two game against the Bengals. The next 13 games were more a test of his will to deal with the pain. He was kept out of the last game.
“I feel great. I’m 100 percent,” Richardson said Tuesday after a minicamp practice. “I wish you could see me out there to watch the whole practice. I’m flying around out there. I finally feel skinny. I don’t have that big (rib) pad on me. All that hard work I put in last year is starting to pay off and bring my game to another level.”
Richardson finished last season with a disappointing 950 yards on 267 carries. He did score 11 touchdowns.
He wants to show fans the real Richardson next season.
“I really couldn’t get going until like Friday, and I was just out there on Sunday,” he said. “I think there will be a big smile on everybody’s face after the games.”
GOOD PROSPECT: Outside linebacker Paul Kruger was asked about some of the pass-rushing prospects available in the draft.
“Yeah, number 99 from the University of Utah,” Kruger said, referring to his younger brother Joe.
Joe had a productive junior season playing next to elite tackle prospect Star Lotulelei.
BEEFING UP: Linebacker James-Michael Johnson looks noticeably bigger in the upper body. Johnson was listed at 240 pounds last season, but he looked undersized.
Johnson is a leading candidate to line up next to D’Qwell Jackson at inside linebacker in the base 3-4 defense. In his rookie season of 2012 Johnson had 32 tackles. He started eight games and was on injured-reserve the last two weeks of the season.
POSITIVE SIGN: The news is promising for guard Jason Pinkston, who missed the final 10 games of last season with a blood clot. Pinkston tweeted recently that he’s been cleared to practice.
“We’re incrementally getting him going back to where he can get on the field and start practicing again,” coach Rob Chudzinski said.
Pinkston started all 16 games his rookie season of 2011, stepping in after a neck injury sidelined Eric Steinbach.
NOT YET: Receiver David Nelson, who was signed last week, won’t be on the field until training camp. Nelson missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in the first game for the Buffalo Bills. A year earlier in Buffalo he caught 61 passes for 658 yards.
ROLE TIDE: It’s possible that the Browns will pick a player from Alabama in the first round for a second straight season the first was Richardson. The most likely candidates are cornerback Dee Milliner and guard Chance Warmack.
“I’d love for Dee to be here, especially on the other side of Joe (Haden),” Richardson said. “That’s a powerful thing. Both of those guys are top-notch guys. I know how hard he (Milliner) works and what he puts into his every-day game.”