A report by ESPN on Monday confirmed that Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson played through the majority of the season with two broken ribs. During the season, Richardson's injury was reported by the Browns as a rib cartilage injury, leading people to suspect they were just sore. As it turns out, Richardson was indeed in a lot of pain.
"I still can't lay flat on my back or on my side," Richardson said, "but it's going to come around, and I know I'll be healthy before next season."
I imagine that Richardson wanted to uphold his reputation as a tough running back, especially after Cleveland dealt with the complete opposite of that in 2011 with running back Peyton Hillis. It sounds like cornerback Dimitri Patterson's refusal to play while his ankle was still sore might have initiated his release late in 2012 too. Still, broken ribs for a running back? Protective vests can only do so much. The article from ESPN suggests that Jim Brown couldn't believe Richardson was able to play through the pain:
"It's real tough playing like that, and I'm the type of guy when anything is hurting, if I feel like I can play, I can play," he said. "I played the whole season like that. Talking to Jim Brown and a lot of guys they were like, 'I don't know how you're doing it.' "
The Morning Journal reports that trainers have told Richardson that his ribs should be fine in about a month, now that he is not absorbing regular contact with the season being over. Richardson is looking forward to showing off what he can offer at full strength:
"I know I’ll be healthy before next season, and I’ll be back right in training camp and OTAs," Richardson said in the locker room Monday. "You’ll see me flying around and see me back skinny man again — I won’t have that big vest on next year. I’m going to have a rib protector on, but I won’t have a big vest on.
I think it was a poor decision to have Richardson play through his rib injury. Richardson looked visibly slower after his injury, and based on the reports, he probably could have missed about a month of action and still been able to return fresh for the end of the season. Meanwhile, while Richardson was killing himself, Pat Shurmur let veteran running back Brandon Jackson go to waste on the inactive list up until the final week of the season. When Jackson came in against the Steelers, he provided a spark on 8 carries for 54 yards (6.8 average). Shameful.
Let us know in the poll and the comments section what you think the Browns and Richardson should have done.