Former first-rounder Trent Richardson salvages AAF debut with two late touchdowns

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
Former NFL running back Trent Richardson had an up-and-down first game in the AAF. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Former NFL running back Trent Richardson had an up-and-down first game in the AAF. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Trent Richardson couldn’t crack it in the NFL after being drafted third overall in 2012, but can he get another shot with a big performance in the Alliance of American Football?

That remains to be seen.

Perhaps the biggest star in the brand-new AAF, Richardson had an up-and-down debut as his the Birmingham Iron took down the Memphis Express, 26-0, in their first games as franchises.

Richardson only racked up 17 yards on eight carries in the first half and lost a fumble in the third quarter. However, he made up for it somewhat in the fourth quarter by scoring the Iron’s first touchdown on a scamper from four yards out.

Richardson added a two-point conversion after the score and punched in another touchdown from five yards out at the end of the game.

Richardson was not a very efficient runner, ending with 58 yards on 23 carries. At one point, he had just 31 yards on 17 rushes, which was very much reminiscent of the Cleveland Browns version of Richardson compared to the Alabama Heisman finalist version of Richardson.

That’s not to say that Richardson didn’t have flashes of strong play. Richardson was never much of a pass catcher in the NFL — he averaged fewer than 20 yards per game through the air — but he pulled down some solid catches, including this first-down rumble.

Could Richardson return to the NFL?

Richardson is hoping to score another shot in the NFL after bouncing out of the league in three years. A year and a half after the Browns traded up to draft him in 2012, they flipped Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, and he wasn’t any better there.

The 28-year-old never found his footing in the NFL, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, including just 3.1 yards per carry with the Colts. Having only rushed for 100 yards three times in 46 games, Richardson was released by the Colts and didn’t cut it with the Oakland Raiders or Baltimore Ravens.

Richardson briefly played in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders but could not re-join them in the fall because he would have lost custody of his children. That brings Richardson to the AAF, where he hopes to make a big impact closer to home.

Maybe playing with former teammates will take Richardson back to his college days. Richardson is joined by more than a dozen players from Alabama or Auburn, including quarterback Blake Sims, linebacker Xzavier Dickson and defensive back Travon Reed.

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