general manager Ryan Grigson said Thursday that the organization still believes in running back Trent Richardson
The Colts acquired Richardson for a 2014 first-round pick from the Cleveland Browns
. But Richardson didn't produce, and Donald Brown
replaced Ahmad Bradshaw
as the Colts' starter when Bradshaw went down with a neck injury.
The pick sent to the Browns is No. 26 overall.
"From a football standpoint, we needed a starting running back. Trent was made available. I've never talked to a person in football, scout, coach, that didn't have a great comparison to another great back when they did him coming out, that didn't think he was going to be a special back. He's going to have his detractors because of course you want him to come in and set the world on fire. But he played a valuable role for us this year. ... I know he's not satisfied and I'm glad he's not, but that's why we have him here for the long haul. It was very economically wise as a franchise to make the move, given where we are going with the run game. We are happy with Trent."
Richardson had only four carries for one yard in two playoff games. That was after averaging 2.9 yards per carry on 157 attempts during the regular season with Indianapolis, joining the team before the Sept. 22 game at San Francisco. Richardson had three rushing touchdowns with the Colts, but two came in his first two games with the team.
All that said, Grigson said there is no math equation in which the Colts win 12 games without Richardson.
"To be honest, I think it comes down to confidence," Grigson said. "We've been over it a thousand times. This is a bottom-line business, a league where you are judged are on your last carry.
"I thought he showed some progress this year. I thought that from a play speed standpoint, as the year progressed, just in practice, he was making more decisive cuts. It's all about comfort level and confidence. There's many examples of backs that came into this league with so much promise that took a full year and had the low average per carry and things like that. We have patience. He's not going anywhere."
Grigson wouldn't say whether offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is definitely returning.
Hamilton is a candidate for the head-coaching position at Vanderbilt. The Commodores made a formal request to interview Hamilton not long after James Franklin left Nashville for Penn State.
"Vandy did ask for permission. But that's it so far," Grigson said Thursday.
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- Trent Richardson
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