The Indianapolis Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson from the winless Cleveland Browns in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2014 National Football League draft.
The Colts’ offense has lost running back Vick Ballard, tight end Dwayne Allen and guard Donald Thomas to season-ending injuries in the past seven days, with all three facing surgery.
“We need running backs,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said. “We need people who can get us yards, can keep defenses honest. We’re going to run the football. Trent has proven he can run it. It’s nice to add him because he makes us better, period.”
Richardson, 23, led Cleveland with 950 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 267 attempts last season, with three 100-yard rushing games. This season, he has 31 carries for 105 yards.
After starting all 17 games since the Browns selected him third overall in the 2012 draft, he has 298 carries for 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns as well as 58 receptions for 418 yards and one touchdown during his career.
Browns Chief Executive Officer Joe Banner acknowledged that the Colts, who had the 24th pick in last year’s draft after going 11-5, probably won’t repeat their 2011 season -- when they went 2-14 to earn the No. 1 overall pick and took quarterback Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft.
“They’re 1-1 and there’s 14 games to go,” Banner said last night in a news conference. “It’s reasonable to expect that they’re a good team but we’ll see how the year goes.”
In 1983, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up a first-round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire quarterback Jack Thompson. When the Buccaneers went a league-worst 2-14, the Bengals got the No. 1 pick in the 1984 draft.
Banner said the Browns (0-2) profited by trading Richardson.
“As we looked forward to what we need to get accomplished, we felt this was good value and gave us an opportunity to accomplish what we want to do as we go forward,” Banner told reporters.
Trade talks between the Colts and Browns started two days ago, Banner said.
“This was more about the moment that presented itself based on the situation the Colts found themselves in,” Banner said. “It wasn’t something where we could say, ‘Can you wait three weeks and let us think about this or learn more?”’
Richardson’s addition to the Colts’ roster had little impact on Indianapolis’ odds of winning the Super Bowl, said R.J. Bell, founder of Pregame.com in Las Vegas.
“Sportsbooks with a larger client base of casual bettors have improved Indy’s odds from around 75-1 to 50-1 to win the Super Bowl,” Bell said in an e-mail. “Sportsbooks with a larger client base of sophisticated bettors have not improved Indy’s odds. These sharper bettors acknowledge that Richardson is a big name, but do not expect him to make much of a difference.”
Richardson, in three seasons at the University of Alabama, helped the Crimson Tide capture national championships in 2009 and 2011. He had 3,130 career yards rushing and 35 touchdowns on 540 attempts while adding 69 receptions for 730 yards and seven touchdowns. He also returned 28 kickoffs for 720 yards with one touchdown.