BEREA, Ohio — Trent Richardson didn’t fit into the Browns’ plans. They’re pushing forward without him.
Cleveland traded the powerful running back to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, a stunning move just two games into this season and only one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.
Richardson was dealt for a first-round selection in next year’s draft, when the Browns will have two opening-round picks and 10 overall. Cleveland is rebuilding and the team hopes to use those picks — seven in the first four rounds — to help turn around a foundering franchise mired in losing for more than a decade.
Such a reversal was what the Browns had in mind when they took Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The former Alabama star seemed to have it all: power, speed and good hands.
But Richardson apparently isn’t the kind of back Cleveland’s front office wants or one for first-year coach Rob Chudzinski’s offensive system. Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards as a rookie despite playing most of last season with two broken ribs, gained just 105 yards on 31 carries in Cleveland’s two losses this season.
He lacked the explosiveness the Browns’ new regime was looking for, and it may not have helped that Richardson made it clear he wanted the ball more.
However, Browns CEO Joe Banner said that there was nothing negative about Richardson and the team simply seized an opportunity to improve. And the Colts have been looking for a back since Vick Ballard suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Banner said the Browns’ first conversation with Indianapolis about Richardson was on Tuesday. Banner said the team is not looking to make other trades, but would still listen.
“I think we feel good about where we’re at moving forward,” Banner said.
The shocking trade came on the same day Chudzinski announced that third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday against Minnesota. Hoyer will fill in for starter Brandon Weeden, who is sidelined with a sprained right thumb.
Like Richardson, Weeden’s days could be numbered in Cleveland, where the Browns have started 19 quarterbacks since 1999 and are still looking for the right one.
In addition, the Browns are bringing in free agent running back Willis McGahee for a physical and will sign him if he passes. A two-time Pro Bowl pick, McGahee, an ex-Buffalo Bill, was most recently with Denver.
Around the league
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson can play against the New England Patriots this weekend after winning his appeal of a one-game suspension that followed a head-to-head hit on Darren Sproles in a loss to the New Orleans Saints. After being fined $30,000 for an illegal hit in Week 1 against the New York Jets, Goldson will now draw a $100,000 fine.
• Andy Reid, who was fired after a 4-12 season in Philadelphia, returns to the city tonight as his new team, the 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs, takes on the 1-1 Eagles (8:30 p.m., NFLN, Radio 550 AM). Reid led the Eagles to many playoff appearances and a berth in the 2004 Super Bowl. The Chiefs have beaten the Jaguars and Cowboys so far this season.
• Former Niagara Falls High and UB running back James Starks will get the starting nod this week when the Green Bay Packers play at Cincinnati. Starks ran for a career-best 132 yards and a touchdown last week.