- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Count 49ers defensive back Bubba Ventrone among the many who was caught off guard Wednesday afternoon when the Indianapolis Colts acquired second-year running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns.
The massive trade shook the NFL.
“A lot of people were surprised,” said Ventrone, who played with Richardson in Cleveland last season. “The fans liked him and the guys on the team all seemed to like him.”
The trade directly affected the San Francisco 49ers. They host Richardson and the Colts on Sunday. Coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday Richardson is not being brought to San Francisco to be the team’s water boy and he will play extensively Sunday despite having just two practices with the Colts.
The 49ers know it and are preparing for him.
"You just have to study his running style,” Ventrone said. “See how he carries the ball.”
Added star San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis, who began studying film of Richardson on Wednesday night: "You don’t know why Cleveland would let go of a guy like that."
San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday he was informed of the deal while on the practice field Wednesday. He said he immediately started to watch film of Richardson, and the players watched the film Thursday.
Fangio said Richardson will affect the team’s game plan somewhat. The team does have some help as it studies Richardson. Along with Ventrone, quarterback Colt McCoy, fullback Owen Marecic and kicker Phil Dawson were in Cleveland with Richardson last season, so they can give some helpful hints. Also, safety Eric Reid said he faced Richardson while he was a safety at LSU and Richardson was at Alabama.
So, the 49ers aren’t dealing with his late addition totally blind.