Browns removing Richardson images

Updated: September 19, 2013, 3:59 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Mere hours after the Cleveland Browns traded one of the faces of the organization Wednesday, the team began to assess how to make all traces of running back Trent Richardson vanish.

[+] EnlargeCleveland Browns fan
AP Photo/Tony DejakCleveland Browns fans with No. 33 Trent Richardson jerseys are in need of a new apparel option after the running back was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.

"We began the process last night and will take a good 24 hours to take inventory and make some decisions," team spokesman Zak Gilbert said Thursday.

It should be relatively easy for the team to take Richardson's photo off the front of its official app and on some of the pages of the team website. A more costly process would be to republish the team's pocket schedules, which feature Richardson on the front.

Gilbert acknowledged the team will also have to make a sweep of the stadium to look for signs of Richardson. The team has time on its side as there isn't another home game until Sept. 29.

Still somewhat shaken by the front office's decision to trade Richardson, the few Browns players who ventured into the locker room on Thursday expressed shock at the deal, it's timing and they vowed to move forward in a season not yet three weeks old.

"It was a shock to everybody,'' wide receiver Josh Gordon said. "Everyone was in disbelief.''

Although many Browns fans will have to relegate their No. 33 jerseys to the closet, Richardson wasn't a popular national buy. He wasn't in the top 25 most-popular jerseys bought this offseason, as compiled by the NFL.

Richardson was in one national commercial in a Browns uniform, but the ad, which promotes NFL.com's fantasy football site, has run its course, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The Browns will save $6.6 million by trading Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2014. Including his signing bonus, the Browns paid the running back -- taken third overall in 2012 -- $13.8 million for what amounted to 17 games.

The move to trade Richardson raised a flag for Cleveland's long-suffering fans, who view the hasty transaction as a sign that Browns' management is throwing away this season to better align itself for 2014 and beyond.

"That's not even realistic,'' said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson  flattening the idea like he was stepping into the hole to smash a ball carrier. "In this business there is too much pressure on everyone to win. I can't even fathom that.''

Trading Richardson is just one of the many changes the team has made in recent months. At the end of last season, the Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, and many players from that team are now gone.

Six of the players featured in the first nine months of the Browns' 2013 calendar -- Richardson, Josh Cribbs, Scott Fujita, Colt McCoy, Evan Moore and Mohamed Massaquoi -- are no longer Browns.

Add that to the FBI investigation into the fuel rebate scandal of Pilot Flying J, the company run by new owner Jimmy Haslam, and it has been a rough couple of months to be a fan of the Browns. Cleveland hasn't made the playoffs for the past 10 seasons and has started this season 0-2.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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