The career of running back Trent Richardson has been one of the oddest we’ve ever seen.
In just two seasons, Richardson went from all-world prospect that was going to change the running back position to an afterthought struggling to make a team.
And now his career may have come to an end.
For Richardson, if this is the end of the line for his career, it will go down in history as one of the sharpest declines we have ever seen. And he’ll be the definition for draft busts for many years to come.
After a record-breaking college career with Alabama that saw him break several school and SEC records, Richardson was one of the best prospects in the 2012 draft. In fact several people considered him to be the best running back talent to come out of the draft since Adrian Peterson.
So when the Cleveland Browns selected him with third pick of the draft, it honestly seemed like a no-brainer. At the time, it seemed like a safe pick and that Richardson would be a good player in Cleveland for many years to come.
But things got off to a tough start when Richardson was forced to miss the entire preseason with a knee injury. Thankfully he was able to return for the season opener, but the explosiveness that made him so good at Alabama was suddenly gone.
Despite the injury problems though, he managed to fight through the year and produce a fairly productive season for Cleveland. When the year was over, he finished with 950 rushing yards and his 11 rushing touchdowns set the Browns’ rookie record previously held by Jim Brown.
The problem was that Richardson looked slow all season and it showed on the field though. His 3.6 yards per carry average was one of the worst in the NFL during his rookie season and it was a big area for concern for the Browns. As a result, just one year after drafting him so highly, the Browns traded Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
In Indianapolis the downfall continued.
During his two seasons with the Colts, he began to look even slower and more confused in the offense. Despite being given over 150 carries in each of his seasons with them, he failed to take over the starting running back spot. Actually in 2013, he was so bad that his 2.9 yards per carry average was the worst in the NFL for running backs with that many carries.
And that was the last we have seen of Richardson in an NFL uniform. He had a short stint with the Oakland Raiders last year, but they released him before the season started and no other team picked him up. Then the Baltimore Ravens signed him earlier this offseason, but after a knee injury kept him from practicing they were forced to release him just one week ago.
Which brings us to this point and one major question. Will we ever see Trent Richardson on an NFL field again?
As you can imagine, Richardson is not ready to give up the fight and he vowed to return after the Ravens released him.
“A lot of people come back from where I came from,” Richardson said shortly after the Ravens let him go. “For me to keep fighting, people got to understand I’m not giving up.”
Unfortunately for Richardson, not many people have come back from where he came from to be successful and no one has had a decline quite like his.
So ultimately it would not be a surprise if we were to never see Richardson in an NFL uniform again. For two straight seasons the running back has failed to even make it through training camp with a team before getting released.
And at age 26, it’s not going to get easier anytime soon.