INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts' trade for Trent Richardson -- they gave the Browns the No. 26 overall pick for the running back -- doesn't look great after the former Alabama standout ran for just 458 yards on 157 carries once he got to Indy.
But Colts GM Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano were adamant about defending Richardson and the deal at the 2014 NFL Combine. Asked if he would do the deal again, Grigson said flatly "yes" and added that he's "optimistic" about Richardson's future.
"He's a tough, good, talented football player that has a broad skill set," Grigson said. "He's still learning what we do and we're optimistic about his future."
He then added that the team is in a "great place" with Richardson.
"We have expectations for Trent and we I think he's in a great place," Grigson said. "We're in a great place with him."
Pagano was equally bombarded with questions about Richardson and was equally adamant that the Colts expect big things for Richardson, saying "the sky is the limit for Trent."
"The sky is the limit for Trent. Having a full offseason with us … we all know he underwent a minor procedure to clean up a shoulder that he got," Pagano said. "We think the sky's the limit for Trent. This will be an important offseason for him and everyone on our roster."
The offseason almost hasto help. Richardson made some poor decisions on the field this past year ...
And maybe it had something to do with Pep Hamilton's system and having to learn it on the fly?
"It doesn't matter schematically what system you run, whether it's our system or verbiage or terminology, whatever you want to try point to," Pagano said. "Any time you go through what a guy like Trent went through -- play a game, wake up in one city and the next day you're in a new city with a new building with a new offense and with new terminology -- it takes some time. He just needs time. Having a full year and an offseason is going to do nothing but benefit Trent."
We'll see. It's not fair to completely judge Richardson's career at this point, either in Cleveland or in Indy.
But he's going to need to do something in 2014 or else the first-round pick Indy gave up is going to look like one of the all-time terrible trades.