By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
BEREA: Browns running back Trent Richardson sat out practice Friday after being kicked in his right shin the previous day, but he downplayed the severity of the injury and vowed not to miss a significant amount of time.
Richardson was sidelined during part of organized team activities in May and the team’s entire three-day mandatory minicamp in June with a strained muscle in the same shin.
Richardson said he would miss the team’s Family Night practice Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium, though he insisted he expects to return to action Monday. Both Richardson and Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Richardson would have played if the Browns had a game.
“Yeah, I got kicked, but football is football,” said Richardson, the third overall pick in last year’s draft. “Ain’t no kick going to stop me from running. I might get kicked two years from now, and I might have that same thing. It ain’t nothing to be worried about. Coach said it was already in the game plan for me to be scheduled to rest these next two days, I think, he said. But I’ll be back out here Monday, whenever he said I would be back.”
Richardson missed most of training camp and all four preseason games last year after undergoing surgery Aug. 9 to have a piece of loose cartilage removed from his left knee. However, he said he’s still on track to play in the Browns’ upcoming preseason games — the opener against the St. Louis Rams will be held Aug. 8 in Cleveland.
“I’m going to play in all of [the preseason games],” Richardson said. “Coach knows that if it was a preseason game tomorrow or today, I’d be playing in it. If we were playing in the hall of fame game right now, I’d be playing in the game. It doesn’t matter. I’m playing in every game this year. That’s my word, and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s my goal.”
Richardson, who played the majority of his rookie season with broken ribs, tried to convince Chudzinski to let him practice Friday.
“I was kind of upset and fighting with coach a little bit for me to practice,” Richardson said. “Ain’t nothing, but he was just resting me a little bit and saying I was running a lot and it’s August. So he explained it to me. It is what it is. I agree with everything coach [said]. I’m behind him 100 percent. So ain’t nothing wrong. I’ll be back out here when he lets me back out here.”
Chudzinski indicated that he’ll be cautious with Richardson this time of year.
“He should be OK,” Chudzinski said. “We feel good about it. We are not worried about it. It is part of the plan we have for him. We will continue to keep him healthy and rested and get him ready for the season.”
Richardson said he worked out inside the team’s training facility at the beginning of practice Friday before walking onto the field to watch.
“Other than that, there wasn’t any treatment,” Richardson said. “There’s nothing you can really do about a sore shin but ice it.”
Dion Lewis and Chris Ogbonnaya practiced with the first-team offense while Richardson sat out along with fellow running back Montario Hardesty, who’s dealing with an injured hamstring.
Plenty of NFL folks are in Northeast Ohio for this weekend’s Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities in Canton, and many of them rolled through training camp Friday.
The most surprising visitor, though, was former Browns President Mike Holmgren. Owner Jimmy Haslam essentially replaced Holmgren with CEO Joe Banner last season, and Holmgren left the organization Nov. 30.
“I just came in for the hall of fame,” said Holmgren, who flew in from California. “Hope to see [Bill] Parcells and [Warren] Sapp and Cris Carter and all of those guys that I coached against all those years. I was driving by the facility, and I thought practice would be over and I was going to sneak in, just going to sneak in and sneak out. I understand they have new offices. My old office, the little cubbyhole I had up there is now fancy.”
Holmgren talked to Haslam, Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi on the field.
Richardson also caught up with Holmgren.
“He gave me a shot,” Richardson said. “He picked me with the third pick. … When I see him anytime, it’s nothing but much love because he changed my life, he changed my family’s life and that opportunity, man, I’ve got to give him a lot of praise for that.”
Former Browns defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry, former Browns offensive tackle Roman Oben, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz also attended practice. Referee Ed Hochuli worked practice with an officiating crew.
Perry addressed the Browns’ defensive line.
“I told them I didn’t realize just how quickly it ends, and if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve taken better care of my body,” Perry said. “Hopefully those guys will listen because really, I could’ve played another two years.”
Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor appreciated Perry’s advice.
“He’s one of the all-time great Cleveland Browns that ever played here,” Taylor said. “It was real inspiring to have him talk the D-line. He had a lot of wisdom for us.”
While the Browns conducted punting drills, wide receiver Greg Little worked with the defensive linemen to polish his hand-fighting skills on two separate occasions. Little believes those drills can help him fight off cornerbacks when they apply press coverage. Little said he has been working with the defensive line since April.
“It was the kind of thing I gravitated towards, kind of like during the offseason during OTAs,” Little said.
For the second day in a row, Taylor had a confrontation with center Alex Mack during pass rush drills. When asked about getting chippie with Mack, Taylor said, “It’s just practice, just practice.”
After the whistle blew Friday, Taylor used both hands to grab Mack by the shoulder pads just below his neck. Following the skirmish, defensive line coach Joe Cullen repeatedly yelled, “enough,” at Taylor. Taylor shoved Mack during the same drill Thursday.