Browns’ Richardson ahead of schedule compared to last year

CLEVELAND – The best sight of the day for Browns coach Rob Chudzinski had to be the presence of running back Trent Richardson on the field for every drill.

Last year at this time, Richardson was recovering from knee surgery. He missed all four preseason games but started the season opener. In week two, he cracked two ribs and was never fully healthy the rest of the season.

“It was a great day to be back out there with my teammates,” Richardson said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been whole with them. To be in that huddle and to have everybody on my back saying let’s go get it is a great feeling.”

There was some doubt as to whether or not Richardson would be ready for the start of training camp. He was held out of a minicamp in early June with a muscle injury in a lower leg.

Barring a setback, Richardson hopes to go into the season ready to go. That wasn’t the case last year.

“Last year I think I started running Thursday or Friday and I played Sunday,” he said. “For me to play in that first game was a blessing for me. For the crowd to go wild when I came out of the tunnel; I was going on momentum.”

HAPPY CAMPER: Guard John Greco can smile easily these days after signing a five-year contract extension earlier in the week. The Boardman High School graduate worked with the first team offense at left guard.

“It was a big relief getting it done before camp,” Greco said. “I can focus on playing. It takes one less distraction out of the way.”

Greco isn’t assuming he has a starting spot secured.

“I feel it needs to be earned,” he said. “It’s what the message around here has been.”

HOT TEMPERS: The weather wasn’t hot but tempers were early in practice. Defensive end Brian Sanford and offensive tackle Joe Thomas were involved in what was a scrum more than anything else. A pile of players grew large before order was restored.

MINOR CONCERN: Receiver Josh Gordon remained on the ground for about a minute after failing to haul in a deep pass from Brandon Weeden. Helped to his feet by a trainer, Gordon limped noticeably before walking off what appeared to be a cramp.

MAJOR PURCHASE: Receiver Davone Bess put up an undisclosed amount of cash to purchase the number 15 from receiver Greg Little, who switched to the number 18 that Bess was issued after arriving in a trade. Bess wanted 15 because the number is tattooed on his back.

“Eighteen wasn’t bad because I wore 8 in college,” Little said. “So it worked out.”

LINEUP OBSERVATIONS: Shaun Lauvao worked with the first unit at right guard. Buster Skrine was with the ones at right cornerback. Tashaun Gipson was the starter at free safety. Craig Robertson worked alongside D’Qwell Jackson at inside linebacker. Rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo and rookie cornerback Leon McFadden worked with the second team.

CAMPING OUT: Defensive tackle Phil Taylor was an observer. He had a rubber sleeve on his left calf. Receiver Travis Benjamin made the catch of the day, leaping high to pull a Weeden pass away from cornerback Chris Owens. Tight end Jordan Cameron has a chance to be a starter, but he didn’t help his cause with a drop of any easy pass on a short route. Mingo showed off his speed with successful moves against backup tackle Rashad Butler.