|Browns’ Richardson healthy and practicing|
|Monday, July 22, 2013 9:10 PM|
By TOM WITHERS
BEREA — Trent Richardson’s second NFL season has already started better than his first.
Richardson, who battled injuries throughout his rookie year, reported to training camp healthy and has already been practicing with Cleveland’s rookies.
“Richardson has been full-go,” first-year Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday. “He’s been practicing these last few days and looks good.”
That’s welcomed news for the Browns, who are counting on Richardson to be at full speed after he was kept out of spring practices with a shin injury and played most of last season with two broken ribs.
Despite not being close to 100 percent, Richardson, the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2012, started 15 games and rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He also had 51 receptions for 367 yards and one TD.
Richardson’s injury problems carried into the offseason. He was sidelined from organized team activities in May by a strained muscle in his right shin. The Browns were overly cautious with Richardson, who promised he would be on the field for the first day of training camp.
He reported over the weekend along with other Cleveland players coming off injuries and a few veterans.
Richardson missed all of the exhibition season last year while recovering from knee surgery; while he did all he could to stay up with his teammates off the field, the time away forced the former Alabama star to learn Cleveland’s offense on the fly when he returned.
Richardson injured his ribs in the Browns’ sixth game but continued to play and did not reveal that his ribs were broken until after the season. He missed Cleveland’s finale with a sprained ankle.
NOTES: Rookie LB Barkevious Mingo was relieved to have his 4-year, $16 million contract signed and said his only goal this season is “to play football.” Mingo would not divulge his weight but noted he’s “bigger than I was when I got here. I’m getting stronger and bigger but I’m keeping my quickness.” Mingo added the team’s veterans have warned him that camp will be “the toughest days of my life, sun up until sun down.” ... Chudzinski said WR David Nelson and rookie OT Chris Faulk will begin camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Nelson tore a knee ligament in Buffalo’s opener in 2012 and missed the entire season. Faulk tore knee ligaments at LSU and sat out the whole year. ... Rookie S Jamoris Slaughter has been practicing. Slaughter missed most of his senior season at Notre Dame with a torn Achilles.
Browns’ Gordon sorry for drug suspension: Josh Gordon’s not looking back. There’s no point.
Unable to fix his mistakes but vowing not to repeat them, the Browns’ talented wide receiver apologized Monday for being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Gordon, who emerged as a much-needed playmaker for Cleveland as a rookie last season, was suspended without pay in June by the league for the first two games of this season. Gordon will also forfeit two other game checks as part of his punishment.
In his first public comments since the suspension, Gordon, who was suspended in college at least twice for marijuana use, apologized for his latest misstep and promised to make amends with his teammates, Browns fans and Cleveland’s front office.
“This hurt a lot of people,” Gordon said.
Gordon would not go into any details about the reasons he was suspended and referred to a statement he made last month shortly after the penalty was announced. Gordon stood by his previous comments that he used cough medicine containing codeine — a banned substance — while recovering from strep throat in February and what he took was for “recreational use.”
“The fact that it happened, it was beyond me,” Gordon said. “It’s one of those things you just really can’t control.”
Gordon also denied he has a substance-abuse problem. He has not yet spoken with members of Cleveland’s new front office about his issues. He was selected in last year’s supplemental draft by the team’s previous regime.
“I have not sat down with them but I was told by other people that definitely they’re supporting me, in my corner,” he said. “That’s good to know. I’m definitely still trying to regain their trust and our front office’s trust, our team’s trust, just to prove to them that they can count on me.”
Chudzinski has met with Gordon, who caught 50 passes and led the Browns with 805 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
“Obviously I’m disappointed in the situation,” Chudzinski said. “It’s important that Josh understands what my expectations are. I’ve talked to him about that. He understands accountability and I expect him to work and do everything he can to be the very best player he can be in the meantime and we’ll go from there.”
Gordon, who was kicked off Baylor’s team for failed drug tests, assured Chudzinski he has learned from the experience.
“Accountability is a big issue,” he added. “We’re definitely planning for the future. We’re looking forward to the things we can do beyond this point. I can’t really sit back and just think about the past and things that’s happened. We’re really looking forward to what we can do from here on out.”
Gordon was reminded he said something similar a year ago but stumbled. He was asked if he had to prove himself all over.
“I really don’t feel that way,” he replied. “I’m still working towards it but that’s something that’s in the past. It’s still going to loom over me for a long time. I still have a long way to go, a lot to prove to the fans here, to the people here. This is another obstacle in my way.”
This is the second straight year the Browns will be missing a key player to open the season because of a suspension. Last year, star cornerback Joe Haden missed the first four games for a drug violation and the Browns went 0-4 without him.
The Browns won’t have Gordon for their Sept. 8 opener against Miami or the following week against the defending Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.
“Obviously I’m disappointed,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said, “but the nice thing about this team is we have guys that can step in and make plays. I have a lot of confidence in all the receivers that are going to be there Week One. Good teams find a way, when they have stuff goes on, guys step in and make plays.
“I’m confident in the guys we have to get that done and when Josh comes back in Week Three, we’ll welcome him back and he’ll continue to make us a better football team.”