Mike Wells of ESPN, citing multiple sources, explains that the relationship between the Indianapolis Colts and RB Trent Richardson frayed as a result of weight, accessibility and accountability issues.
- Specifically, Wells reports that Richardson battled weight problems, missed a walk-through before the AFC Championship game, and was often difficult to get in contact with throughout 2014.
Richardson was suspended two games for missing the walk-through, a penalty that will extend into 2015 if he remains with the team. This suspension could allow Indianapolis to void the final year of Richardson’s deal.
Richardson’s weight issues have been well-documented, and often serve as the most commonly cited reason for his lack of production since being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 Draft. Wells noted that a source told him that Richardson ballooned up to 240 pounds during the season, after starting at 225.
The weight gain was only exacerbated by the hamstring injury Richardson sustained on October 19th against the Bengals. Indianapolis relied heavily on RB Ahmad Bradshaw during this time, but he suffered a season-ending injury on November 16th against New England.
It was after that November 16th game that the team struggled to get in touch with Richardson, further fraying the relationship.
RB Daniel “Boom” Herron outplayed Richardson in the subsequent weeks, and Richardson was eventually relegated to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart behind RB Zurlon Tipton.
The combination of an underwhelming performance coupled with the off-field issues culminated in Richardson’s absence from the walk-through before the AFC championship game. He attributed his absence to a family emergency, but he was suspended for his failure to alert the team.
Colts GM Ryan Grigson, when asked about Richardson’s future with the team after the AFC championship game said:
“Where’s he fit? Where’s he going? Is his arrow up, down, sideways, 45-degree angle?” Grigson said, via Mike Wells of ESPN. “And we have to figure all these things out with guys in all different types of situations on this roster. There are guys across the board that are in a lot of different situations. But, again, when the coaches come back, when we seeing what’s actually out there — we have an idea, draft, juniors that have declared and things like that — once that evolves we’ll have a much better feel for what we need to do.”
Richardson is owed a guaranteed $3,184,062 million for 2015, but Wells writes that an option in his contract could allow the team to void this sum.
- Wells does add however, that any attempt to void the final season would likely be challenged by the NFL Players Association.
If the team can in fact void the deal, it would be wise to do so. It appears as though the relationship between Richardson and the Colts is irreparably damaged, and his on-field performance does nothing to counteract that fact.
In 2014, he ran for 519 yards on 159 carries (3.3 YPC) to go along with 27 receptions for 229 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 29 running back out of 57 qualifying players.