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Richardson's durability still a concern with Browns

The SportsXchange

BEREA, Ohio -- Is running back Trent Richardson durable enough to be a reliable running back for the Cleveland Browns?

That question persists after Richardson returned to practice Monday afternoon on a limited basis after being held out from workouts Friday and Saturday after being kicked in the shin Thursday.

The Browns were off on Sunday.

Richardson was kicked Thursday on the same shin he injured in OTAs in May. He missed the June minicamp for what coach Rob Chudzinski described as precautionary reasons.

Chudzinski said Richardson could have practiced Friday and Saturday and definitely would have played had a regular game been scheduled, but he is undecided about whether Richardson will play in the preseason game Thursday vs. the St. Louis Rams in Cleveland. Richardson wants to play, but Chudzinski and the medical staff is thinking long-term.

"We're going to ease him back in," Chudzinski said. "We're going to be smart about it."

Richardson's health is being watched closely because of what he experienced last year. He missed the entire preseason recovering from knee surgery and played 10 games with broken ribs. Richardson said he is prepared to play injured this season if necessary.

"Coach knows if a preseason game was tomorrow or today I'd be playing," Richardson said. "If the Hall of Fame game was right now I'd be playing. It doesn't matter. I'm playing in every game this year. That's my work, and that's what I'm going to do. That's my goal."

Richardson said playing injured is the norm for a running back.

Jim Brown never missed a game in nine years with the Browns. He is an adviser with the Browns and often talks with Richardson.

Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk was in Berea last week prior to the Hall of Fame inductions. He listed a dislocated toe, separated shoulder, broken hand, surgically-repaired knee and broken ribs among the injuries he played with.

The paths of Faulk and Richardson have crossed several times since they first met at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012. Faulk has become a sort of unofficial coach for Richardson because Faulk played in the same offense the Browns are using, though Faulk never played under Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

"The position of running back is not about how healthy you are. It's how well you can play unhealthy because a lot of things are going to hurt you," Faulk said. "I mean, we get hit every down. If you just think about the fact that you get tackled by a 300-plus pound defensive lineman and your offensive lineman is blocking him and he falls on top of you, that's 600, sometimes 700 pounds on top of you.

"Things are going to hurt. Your body is not made to do what we do, so mentally you have to have the right mindset in order to play the position and to be successful at it."

Faulk is 10th among all-time leading rushers with 12,279 yards in 12 seasons. Brown is one spot ahead of him with 12,312 yards in nine seasons.

"It all comes from the heart, toughness and being relentless and not wanting to be denied," Richardson said. "As a running back, I know Marshall probably said it and Jim Brown will tell you this: we think differently. As long as our leg's not broken, we're running. We can be sick with the flu or whatever, or we can be on our last string as far as our shoulders, and we're still going to be playing, no matter what.

"That's something that's ingrained in you. I think it starts from little league football all the way up. To be a great back, that is something you have to have in you at all times."

Richardson rushed for 950 yards last season. He gained 303 yards in his first five games and 547 yards in 10 games while playing with the rib injury.

--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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