Browns running back Trent Richardson continued to sit out organized team activities today, but he downplayed the significance of the strained muscle in his right shin.
“It ain’t no biggie,” Richardson said. “Ain't nothing to worry about. I could be out there, but they want to be cautious about it and make sure I’m healthy.”
Richardson said he doesn’t know whether he’ll participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp June 4-6. Coach Rob Chudzinski said he hasn’t made a final decision, though the team will be conservative this time of year with Richardson.
“We’re going to be cautious about it,” Chudzinski said. “But we’ll see early next week.”
Richardson said he’s ready to return, even though Chudzinski sounded as if he’ll choose to play it safe.
“If they let me go, I’m going to go,” said Richardson, the third overall pick in last year’s draft. “It’s going to be day-to-day. If they tell me to suit up tomorrow, I’m going to be out here working tomorrow. So I’m letting coach make the decision, and I’m happy with his decision. I know he’s going to do the best thing for me, and I know he’s going to do the best thing for the team.”
Richardson said he suffered the injury while running during a practice. He also sat out last Thursday.
Richardson said an MRI wasn’t even necessary for his injury.
“It was nothing that serious to even be looking at it that far,” Richardson said. “[The team’s medical personnel] just felt around on it, and they were just like, ‘We’re going to sit you out for right now ‘cause we don’t want nothing to happen to you as far as not being able to play in the season.’”
Richardson battled injuries throughout his rookie season last year. He underwent surgery Aug. 9 to remove a piece of loose cartilage from his left knee, which he also had scoped about six months earlier. He returned in time for the regular-season opener Sept. 9, even though he missed most of training camp and all four preseason games.
Then in Week 6, Richardson suffered two or three broken ribs against the Cincinnati Bengals. He played through the injury before being sidelined in the regular-season finale with a left high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 16 against the Denver Broncos.
“It’s not going to be like last year, being hurt,” Richardson said. “Injury-prone is not going to be me.”
Richardson’s teammates certainly hope he’s right.
“We need Trent back, and that’s why him taking some time off now and getting 100 percent is I think a good idea,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “I told him the same thing. I said, ‘We need you in training camp and ready for Week 1.’ He’s going to make this offense better. Yeah, we talk about all the balls being thrown downfield and doing all those things, but you’ve got to hand it to [No.] 33. He’s too vital for this offense to be good, be productive. So we need him back ASAP.”
Richardson did light exercises on the sidelines during practice. He insisted his injury isn’t preventing him from learning the new offense installed by Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
“I know the basic stuff, and I’m still learning every day,” Richardson said. “We all do. We’re all learning.”
Richardson said he's excited that legendary running back Jim Brown has officially rejoined the franchise as a special adviser. He said he realizes Brown won't be his coach, but he will provide valuable advice.
During a news conference Wednesday, Brown said Richardson has the potential to be great if he can stay healthy.
"It is something to think about in the long run and the short run," Richardson said. "When Jim Brown says something, that's always something you've got to put in your head -- 'Well, hey, this man did it. He knows what he's talking about.' So I might as well follow along, make sure I get on the right path, do what he tells me to do, make sure I stay injury free."
Coaching them up
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner got fired up during practice and yelled at some players, including Weeden, quarterback Jason Campbell and rookie wide receiver Mike Edwards for missing assignments.
“He'll get on ya,” Weeden said. “You got to be on your toes and not that you want to play scared, but you have to be error free at this level, and that's what he expects out of all of us.”
Tight end Jordan Cameron (groin) practiced today after sitting out last week. … Defensive end Desmond Bryant practiced today after missing last Thursday while dealing with a legal matter. … Outside linebacker Paul Kruger missed practice today because he had a family obligation, a team spokesman said. … Safety Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles), offensive tackle Chris Faulk (knee) and wide receivers Jordan Norwood (unknown) and David Nelson (knee) sat out with injuries. Wide receiver Perez Ashford was not at practice. … Shawn Lauvao worked at left guard and John Greco at right guard with the first-team offense. Jason Pinkston worked at left guard with the second unit. … Chris Owens worked with the first-team defense opposite Joe Haden. Buster Skrine covered the slot in the nickel package. … With Kruger absent, Quentin Groves and Barkevious Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, rotated in Kruger's spot opposite Jabaal Sheard with the first-team defense. … Like last week, Campbell took the majority of the reps with the second-team offense, but third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer worked some with the second unit as well. … Travis Benjamin and Davone Bess practiced returning punts in that order. T.J. Conley served as the first-team punter, and Spencer Lanning worked with the second group.