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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Browns' Richardson itching for first hit

By Jamison Hensley

BEREA, Ohio -- Browns running back Trent Richardson is doing everything right as a rookie.

He looks fast. He looks elusive making cuts. He just doesn't look totally comfortable during Browns mandatory minicamp.

Known for being one of the most physical running backs in college, Richardson is itching for training camp when he can take his first hit.

"I’ve never went so long without having pads on," Richardson said after non-contact practice. "I know it’s a different system where you have to take care of your body. I really can’t wait to put my pads on."

Richardson will take his share of hits in the regular season. With a rookie quarterback, the Browns are expected to lean heavily on Richardson and their running game.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Wednesday that the days of a running back carrying the entire load for a season are over. But there's no talk of the Browns going to a running back by committee. Richardson should expect 300 carries this season, which would be about 20 attempts per game.

"I think you're seeing a situation now where teams have one, two or three guys that contribute in some way," Shurmur said. "Whoever the starter is will get most of the reps. The other guys will come in on special situations or in a backup-type role and get their production then."

Barring an injury, the starter is going to be Richardson. The Browns traded up to the No. 3 overall pick to get the Alabama running back, and teammates believe he's surpassed expectations so far."

"Everybody knew he was fast and strong and makes good reads," offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "I’ve been impressed with how smart he is and how few mental mistakes he makes as a rookie."