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Holmgren questions why Browns would trade Richardson

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Trading Trent Richardson took Cleveland Browns fans by surprise. Many around the NFL were shocked. Richardson, at first was angry, but once the reality set in, he was ecstatic.

Former Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren almost fell out of his chair -- not literally. But by the time he righted himself and the news sunk in, Holmgren was scratching his head.

"How do you make your team better by trading your best player?" Holmgren told Seattle radio station KJR-AM on Thursday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer "He's the best offensive player. He's a valuable, valuable guy."

Holmgren traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to acquire the hard-running running back from Alabama. And despite having preseason knee surgery and playing most of his rookie season with broken ribs, Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie season. This year, a healthy Richardson managed just 105 rushing yards in two losses. He did not score in either game.

Holmgren said that if he was the coach and Richardson had been traded, he would have left, too.

"I struggled with it," Holmgren said. "Philosophically, if I'm the coach and someone came in and did that, I'd say 'OK, fire me, or I'm going to quit. Or we're going to both go into the owner and talk about this and then we'll see who's still standing.' "

Holmgren was fired when Browns new owner Jimmy Haslam acquired the team and hired Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi to run the team and make personnel decisions.

Holmgren said he believes so much in Richardson that it would have been hard for him to "buy in" to trading Richardson after only two games into his second season.

"I'd shake hands and walk. I would," he said. "Because if I disagreed with it vehemently, and I couldn't buy in, I mean, I'm not saying I'm right, I'm saying that's what I would do, because you have to be true to yourself in this business."
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