We wrote back in late February that Trent Richardson’s comeback attempt was unlikely to go anywhere. About five months later, that has turned out to be the case as the Baltimore Ravens have cut the former Alabama star.
The Ravens made the move to clear a roster spot for receiver Chuck Jacobs, who will himself have a hard time making this roster. The move is also about as surprising as sun in Los Angeles, as Richardson has never delivered on the promise that comes from being a star at a big-time program like Alabama.
Drafted No. 3 overall by the Browns in the 2012 draft, Richardson was a huge disappointment in Cleveland. His best year was his rookie season, when he managed to gain 950 yards and score 11 touchdowns. But even that was more a product of the Browns giving him tons of opportunities than anything else, as his 3.6 yards per carry shows.
So disenchanted were the Browns that they flipped him to Indianapolis the very next season in exchange for a first-round pick that ended up coming in at No. 26 overall.
Since signing with Baltimore, Richardson didn’t do a whole lot. He wasn’t healthy in time for camp. In fact, he came in out of shape, leading coach John Harbaugh to say: “When he gets himself (in shape), he’s got great talent. I’m very certain he’ll get there. And when he does, we’ll be able to evaluate him.”
But Richardson never did get healthy and never gave the Ravens a chance to evaluate him — other than to notice that he was out of shape and hurt. Richardson had his knee scoped in June and was on the physically unable to perform list as camp opened, leaving him – well – unable to perform.
Add all of this to the fact the Ravens have a solid stable of running backs, led by Justin Forsett and backed by Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West, and there was nowhere for a slow, fat and hurt Richardson to play.
But the truth of the matter is that Richardson never really did perform on an NFL level. There were always questions about his work ethic, questions he himself justified by coming in out of shape to his last-chance camp invite.
There were also questions about his actual talent and skill. As good as he was in college, his game did not translate to the NFL game. The defenders were too fast, too big and too strong for him to handle, and he no longer had the advantage of an Alabama line to run behind.
“We traded Trent because we didn’t think he had great vision,” Browns CEO Joe Banner once said. “If you don’t have great vision, a kind of feel for where the hole is going to be, you can have all the strength, the power, the measurables, all the things he did in college, and you’re going to struggle. It’s just they’re too fast, they’re too big, they’re too good at that level to have that weakness.”
Banner turned out to be right, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else giving Richardson another chance.