"If you called to ask me what's going on with the Browns you might as well save your breath. Don't nobody in Cleveland know what the fu*k is going on. They're lucky I'm not a season ticket holder or I'd be down at the Browns office breaking some sh*t up! How are they gonna trade away our best player after the 2nd game of the season? I can't understand it man."
Ken Roye: Cleveland native.
I called my boy in Cleveland hoping to get some clarity and possible insight as to why the Cleveland Browns would trade their franchise player two games into the season, but as I expected he had no answers for me. There is no logical explanation why Trent Richardson was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts 18 games into his career. On the surface it seems like an impulsive move and a desperate attempt to correct the mistakes of the previous regime. Did the organization make the right decision?
Absolutely not. Trent Richardson was a top 3 pick last year and is considered one of the top young running backs in the NFL. They traded him for a 1st round pick to a team that will most likely make the playoffs. There is no way to justify moving down 20 spots in the draft with no guarantee they will have an opportunity to select a player with greater or equal ability.
In addition, it sends a horrible message to the fans and the current Cleveland Browns players. You can't trade your team's best player without giving the impression you don't care about the result of the 2013 season. They will be lucky if the fans don't boycott the games and stop supporting the Browns all together. Cleveland fans have suffered countless disappointments in the past and they can only take so much.
So who's to blame for this difficult situation surrounding the Browns organization? In my opinion you have to point the finger at Mike Holmgren. Although Holmgren had success in San Francisco, Green Bay, and Seattle there is no doubt his time in Cleveland was unproductive. Although Holmgren has voiced his displeasure and confusion in the direction Cleveland is headed his personnel moves didn't make the team better and everyone involved is suffering the consequences.
The Trent Richardson trade is just another example that professional sports is a business first. The Browns didn't even have the courtesy to tell Richardson he was being traded. He had to find out on sports talk radio like everybody else. You would think a franchise player deserved more respect, but at the end of the day he is nothing more than a commodity that can be traded and shipped away at a moments notice. If this doesn't go the way ownership anticipates I'm not sure they will ever be able to regain the trust of Cleveland fans again. The 216 deserves better.