INDIANAPOLIS –Hurt by three season-ending injuries on offense in the last seven days, the Colts took a bold move to reinforce the attack by trading their 2014 first-round draft pick to Cleveland for running back Trent Richardson.
In his 16th trade since joining the Colts in January, 2012, General Manager Ryan Grigson has acquired the third overall player taken in the 2012 draft.
Richardson (5-9, 225 pounds) led Cleveland with 950 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 attempts in 2012. This season, he has 31 carries for 105 yards, while having 58 career receptions for 418 yards and one score. Richardson has started all 17 career outings.
The Colts lost running back Vick Ballard last Wednesday with a non-contact knee injury in practice. Tight end Dwayne Allen (hip) and guard Donald Thomas (right quadriceps) are lost for the season, and all three players face surgery.
Richardson ranked 10th in AFC in rushing last season. His rushing total and touchdowns eclipsed Jim Brown's rookie records from 1957 (942, nine). Richardson had three 100-yard outings (at Cincinnati 9/16; vs. San Diego 10/28; vs. Baltimore 11/4), and his 51 receptions were seventh among NFL backs. Richardson's 1,317 scrimmage yards were third among NFL rookies and set a franchise seasonal mark.
Richardson started 15-of-38 games at Alabama (2009-11). He rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns on 540 attempts. He had 68 receptions for 730 yards and seven scores and held a 25.7 average on 28 kickoff returns (one TD). He helped the school win national titles in 2009 and 2011.
Richardson joins a Colts backfield that includes Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown, Stanley Havili and Kerwynn Williams. Bradshaw is a two-time 1,000-yard rusher who got his first start last Sunday for the Colts.
Under coordinator Pep Hamilton, Indianapolis has a 5.1 rushing average in two games. Ballard had a 4.8 average in the opener against Oakland. Bradshaw had a 4.3 average against Miami. The Colts hope to achieve a more balanced attack this season under Hamilton.
In 2012, Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record with 627 pass attempts.