By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
T-Rich vows to stay humble: The NFL is trying hard this week to teach incoming rookies to avoid the hazards of stardom. The league’s Rookie Symposium is all about financial literacy and social responsibility. Keep your circle of friends small and research those you hire to handle your money.
Trent Richardson listened hard to Terrell Owens and Adam Jones talk about their costly mistakes. The Browns’ rookie running back learned a few things. But his lessons in life were mostly learned growing up in Pensacola, Fla., long before he arrived here as a No. 1 draft pick.
“My mom put a good head on my shoulders,” Richardson said after the Play 60 youth football clinic on the Browns practice fields Friday. “She always disciplined me well. As far as financing, I’m always gonna be the guy that didn’t have much. I’m always gonna work hard. When I’m out there, I’ll always make sure where I came from and how I got there.”
Richardson grew up in a fatherless home, the youngest of three boys. He became a father at age 16 and now has two daughters, 5 and 4, to keep him focused as he embarks on a new life of fame and fortune.
“My mom kept me humble by staying in church and (instilling) my faith,” Richardson said. “Football can mold you into a man and mold you into a different person and a respectful person. If you have coaches like I had, they always stayed after you. If it was grades, or as far as being disrespectful … we couldn’t play games if we didn’t have the right grades. If we were disrespectful to our moms, they would make us run laps holding hands with the football team. Or we were doing pushups. Discipline always played a big role with me. Being humble is always going to be me. I didn’t play football my first two years in high school. So I had to be humble.”
Chasing No. 32: On Saturday, Richardson will join the other AFC draft picks on a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. There, he will certainly check out the exhibit of hometown and boyhood hero Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time rusher. He said he also will visit the exhibit of Jim Brown, the NFL’s greatest rusher. The Browns legend has hounded Richardson with critical comments.
Before the draft, Brown observed Richardson as an “ordinary” back and later said to ESPNCleveland, “I don’t see anything outstanding about him.”
Fellow Browns rookie Brandon Weeden has hung with Richardson a lot since the two became teammates, at NFL functions and at Browns rookie and minicamp. Not once has he heard Richardson say anything close to “What’s up with that guy?”
“Trent’s got thick skin,” Weeden said. “It doesn’t matter what anybody says. Trent doesn’t worry about it, I can promise you that. All you have to do is turn on the tape from Alabama to see what he did. He was a special player down there.”
“To me, I laugh at the situation,” Richardson said of Brown’s comments. “In my head, that means I have a lot of work to do. I still do. Cleveland, never having won the Super Bowl, hopefully, I can be one of the guys to be on a Super Bowl team in Cleveland. I have big shoes to fill. It’s just a lot of motivation. I don’t dislike Jim Brown for the comments. He’s pushed me to the limit … made sure he gets everything he can out of me.”
Richardson said he would “most definitely” like to meet Brown.
“Just to be in his presence would be an honor. He is an icon. He is a legend. I have to get on my high horse if I’m going to live up to Jim Brown’s expectations.”
No. 33’s expectations: Richardson wants to see his bust on display some day in Canton.
“I want to be one of the most talked about running backs in the NFL that ever played the game when I get done with my NFL career,” he said. “I want my name to always be remembered in a good way, not in a crazy way. For me, I’m always gonna work hard, make sure my standards are set high. My goals and expectations are always gonna be high.”
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