Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/20/14

While Greg Little is preening and posing amidst a 14-point deficit and a shower of hashtags, Browns running back Trent Richardson is mostly stoic and calculated. Certainly, when Richardson crosses the goal line as he has twice in his very young career, he exudes a level of energy that is matched only by Cleveland fans watching the plays as they unfold. But until that moment when the ball crosses the goal line, Richardson displays a workmanlike attitude.

An otherwise tough day in the trenches, gaining a mere 2.3 yards per carry, when the rookie back out of Alabama was able to turn a busted play into a six-yard touchdown when he bounced the play to his immediate left after running right into the backs of the men who were to create a hole just to the left of center Alex Mack, it was those very men whom Richardson tracked down, one by one, on the Browns sidelines following the play.

A seated Mack got a fist bump to the shoulder pads. Then came Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston and Mitchell Schwartz. The final moment of gratitude was reserved for Joe Thomas. A group of men who have underachieved individually and as a unit, being appreciated by the man whom they have largely let down. Three games in, two of them underwhelming by statistical standards coupled with the fact that his team was entertaining their third-consecutive loss, but Trent Richardson is already becoming a leader on a team in dire need of such a role.

“We’ve got to keep fighting,” Richardson said following the loss. “You’ve got to keep trying to motivate the team and I’ve got to keep motivating myself. As far me stepping in the role of being a leader, I have to make sure I’m doing everything correctly at all times. And so yeah, we’re 0-3 but we have another game Thursday, so we’ve got to go right back to the drawing board and try and find a way to win, no matter what it takes.”

This is the same player who missed the bulk of the preseason following a minor knee operation. The first rookie selected in the most recent draft, a player who the Browns traded up to obtain, and one who was arguably the team’s most talented skill player before even stepping foot on to the field. Sitting on a shiny new contract and closets full of accolades acquired during his days as an amateur player, it would be easy for Richardson, a 22-year-old kid at the core, to waltz in to Berea with a sense of entitlement. But Richardson’s senses include everything but.

Having the desire to address his team prior to their game this past Sunday, Richardson took the steps he saw fit: he asked linebacker D’Qwell Jackson for permission. Like a child at the dinner table, the running back sought to obtain clearance prior to addressing his elders.

Meanwhile, the coaching staff is faced with the peacocking of a wide receiver who has seemingly done everything but receive. While Brandon Weeden’s quarterback rating would not exactly reflect that of a mid-career Dan Marino, it’s hard to place much blame on the rookie quarterback when his second-year receiver racks up dropped passes by the tailgate bus-load. The team claims that Little is “working extremely hard,” but continues to be plagued by inconsistencies. In truth, these dropped passes provide the coaching staff with a solid on-field reason to bench a player who has been nothing but a distraction over the course of the last two weeks, Usain Bolt pose and all.

If Little is indeed benched, a variety of players could see expanded roles as Joshua Cribbs has yet to see many snaps on offense, and Jordan Norwood has been a bit nicked up. But one player who will undoubtedly get a larger workload will be Richardson as he continues to become more comfortable with the offense, his teammates and the game of football at the professional level.

The statistics will pile up eventually. For now, the Browns should take solace in the fact that they not only moved up to select a play-maker, but in doing so they also landed a natural born leader.

“All those yards that Brandon threw for and all the yards that I run for,” said Richardson just one week earlier, “it doesn’t mean anything if we’re not winning. We have a lot to prove.”

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Darren Sproles' role is growing for the Eagles

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.