Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam just bought the Cleveland Browns for over $1 billion, and right now, he may be wondering why he didn't look at the CarFax report. There are potentially bad things on the horizon for the team's best offensive and defensive players.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson, the third overall draft pick out of Alabama, will undergo knee surgery with renowned knee specialist Dr. James Andrews. Richardson will have a "hang nail" piece of cartilage removed from his left knee. While it is not believed that this procedure is related to the torn meniscus he suffered in the same knee in the BCS Championship Game against LSU, there's obviously reason for concern whenever the man you're trying to build your offense around has a procedure before he's played a single NFL game.
One source told ESPN.com that Richardson could still play one or two games of the preseason after the procedure, and a Browns team source said that the surgery is a "two-week deal."
The Browns have already lost starting linebacker Chris Gocong for the season to an Achilles injury, defensive tackle Phil Taylor to a torn pectoral muscle, and linebacker Scott Fujita to a league suspension based on the New Orleans' Saints bounty scandal ... and there's more bad news for the defense -- cornerback Joe Haden could be out for part of the regular season after failing a routine drug test. According to radio station WKNR in Cleveland, Haden tested positive for Adderall, an NFL-banned substance frequently used to manage attention-deficit disorder and narcolepsy.
NFL rules stipulate that a positive test results in a second test from the original source, and a second positive test would result in a four-game suspension for Haden.
Recently, New York Giants safety Tyler Sash was suspended four games for a positive confirmed Adderall test, and head coach Tom Coughlin was not amused. Earlier in the year, Giants running back Andrew Brown had his suspension lifted, and that suspension was based on a positive Adderall test.
"There's no issue with this young man. He doesn't need any watchdog over him," Coughlin said on Aug. 1. "Ignorance is no excuse for the law, I understand, but if he knows what's expected he does it.
"I mean, this kid really had no intention of doing anything illegally. I know what the definition of the rule is and I understand all about that and I've been there myself when you've had to ask yourself about [taking certain substances]. But sometimes you'd think maybe common sense needs to be involved in this. And I feel bad for the kid."
These may turn out to be minor issues for the Browns. Perhaps Richardson's knee will clear right up and he'll rush for 1,800 yards this year -- he certainly has the talent to do it. And perhaps the NFL will take a closer look as its short-sighted and asinine policies for drugs that manage behavior and specific and common physical problems. But this is not the way to start a preseason, especially with a new owner on the books.
Fortunately, Haslam seems unconcerned; he hasn't yet asked for a refund.
"That's part of football," Haslam said on Wednesday. "You're going to have some bad breaks, some good breaks, but I'm confident in listening to everybody that we've got a good young team that's headed in the right direction.
"I don't know anything about either circumstance. I got up here early this morning and I've been in meetings until we came to the stadium and [it] was just mentioned that Trent had a little knee issue so I don't know much about that. I don't know anything about Joe's situation."