The Cleveland Browns trade up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Trent Richardson with the third overall pick. On draft night, Browns Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown calls Richardson an “ordinary back.”
Fast forward to the regular season. Richardson turns in an outstanding performance in just his second NFL game, rushing for 109 yards and one TD and catching four passes for 36 yards and one TD reception.
Brown is impressed with Richardson’s game, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the University of Alabama product showed “an ability they drafted him for.”
Richardson is honored by Brown’s compliment, saying, “That’s big coming from him. He’s a legend. He holds a lot of records here, and I’m just trying to fill his shoes.” He continues, “I’ve seen all of his highlights. He’s a hard runner. You watch a guy like that, you try to [pattern] your game around him.”
Most football fans are familiar with Richardson’s hard-nosed style of play, having seen highlights of the 5’9”, 230-pound back plowing over defenders and breaking arm tackles as if he were running the gauntlet. (Go Behind the Highlights as Richardson breaks down one of the most impressive runs of his career.)
However, you have to dig deep in the vault to see Brown in his prime. Or you can simply go to YouTube. Which is exactly what we did after hearing Richardson’s comments about patterning his running after one of the best to ever play the game. It got us wondering, could these two Browns backs from two totally different eras possibly share a similar running style?
You’d be amazed at the parallels. It could be the spin move, or maybe the innate ability to absorb contact, or the tendency to stiff-arm defenders. Whatever it is, the one trait they seem to share is total dominance over opponents when they’re at their best.
Could Richardson be the next Brown? We'd say the potential is there, because much like Brown, he is an aggressive runner who looks to initiate contact.
One thing is for sure: the Browns franchise could sure use a second coming of Jim Brown.