News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Colts

September 20, 2013

Pagano thrilled to add Richardson to Colts' offense

Indy coach loves back's passion for football, ready to get him involved immediately

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano are in agreement — acquiring former Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson in a much-ballyhooed trade Wednesday evening was the right move at the right time for the franchise.

The Colts traded their first-round pick in next year’s National Football League draft to Cleveland for Richardson, who was the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. He has three years remaining in his original contract that he signed with the Browns prior to last season.

“Obviously we feel great about acquiring Trent. His resume speaks for itself even though it’s a one-year glimpse [in the NFL]. You can go back and look at what this kid did in the [Southeastern Conference] for three years,” Pagano explained Thursday.

“When you rush for 3,100 yards and 32 touchdowns and catch as many passes as he caught, you rush for 1,700 yards his last year at Alabama in the SEC, that’s as close a thing to professional football as you can get on a collegiate level,” Pagano said.

“We know what he brings to the table as a runner, as a pass-catcher, as a protector. We feel very excited to have Trent in the fold,” the head coach continued.

How excited? Pagano thought Grigson was joking when he initially broached the possibility of adding Richardson to the team.

“Any time you have an opportunity and a name like that pops up, No. 3 overall pick in the same draft as [quarterback] Andrew [Luck]. Right behind Andrew, RG [Robert Griffin III] and Trent [Richardson], obviously your ears perk up,” the Colts coach admitted Thursday.

“There’s a certain amount of excitement level. You’re kind of like, ‘Are you being serious? Are you messing with me on this deal?’”

The Colts general manager certainly didn’t flinch when the chance to make the deal presented itself. The wheels started turning on a possible trade began in earnest early this week.

“Probably two days ago, maybe even Monday. I’m really not quite sure right now. It was the last couple days,” Grigson said when he was asked about the mechanics of the trade.

“I’ve known [Cleveland CEO] Joe [Banner] a long time. There was a player mentioned [for as possible trade]. And we went right to work on it and did our due diligence on the Colts’ end and really liked the player. I’ve always liked the player and when it became a possibility, we had to at least investigate it.”

While in-season trades are rare in the NFL, to have such a deal come together so swiftly is almost unheard of.

“I think if you have two parties that have a vision and they both are able to talk through things out of mutual respect, mutual trust, those types of things, you can talk football and see the good on both sides, then you can get things done in a quicker manner,” the Colts’ second-year GM said.

“Joe [Banner] is a guy that gets things done and he’s a hard worker and I knew we could at least come to a point where we could make a decision on this in a reasonably expedient manner. It worked out real well in that way.”

So why make the deal? Easy. Indianapolis lost starting running back Vick Ballard to a torn anterior cruciate in his right knee during a non-contract drill in practice late last week. While Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown and Kerwynn Williams are available, the chance to add a player with the talents of Richardson made the decision a relative easy one.

“He loves football. That’s always a prerequisite for Chuck and myself and [team owner] Mr. [Jim] Irsay. We want people that love what they do. People that are good at what they do and love what they do,” Grigson said.

“In that respect, he’s, I believe, very talented, naturally. He has the right body type, I feel, for his style as a runner and his style is what fits this offense.”

Pagano agrees.

“This guy is a rolling ball of butcher knives. Ahmad [Bradshaw] is the same way. [Richardson] fits our system. He fits our scheme to a tee,” he said. “It’s huge. He’s [23]. It’s great. You got a great young quarterback [Andrew Luck] and a great young runner. We got other good runners in there too. You add another piece to the puzzle.

“We’re trying to build something special. We know we’re trying to build a monster here and we’re trying to build a program for sustained success for the long haul. So this gives you another opportunity to do that.”

Will Richardson when the Colts play at San Francisco? Of course.

“We did not bring him in here to, I guess, be the water boy on Sunday. He’ll be ready to roll,” Pagano said.

How much work will he get?

“As much as he can handle,” the Colts coach said.

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