Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson has played the last three games despite a rib cartilage problem. Coach Pat Shurmur pulled the rookie after a season-low eight carries against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.
Richardson responded by running for a combined 227 yards on 49 carries the following two weeks.
The rookie told The Plain Dealer to wait until he's healthy.
"I haven't been at 100 percent yet, so I'm waiting for that moment," Richardson said. "Whenever my ribs do heal, it's going to make a big difference having this bye week. When they heal 100 percent ... it's going to be a whole other Trent."
Richardson spent the entire preseason healing from arthroscopic knee surgery. That didn't stop him from playing Week 1. Richardson has rushed for 575 yards and five touchdowns and has not missed a game. He's caught a team-high 31 balls for 240 yards and a touchdown. Richardson is basically the entire offense.
"I'm very excited about these last seven games," Richardson said. "We can make a big difference, especially (with) what people think about the Cleveland Browns. We can write our own story right here, write a big chapter right here about the men on this team and what we want our season to end like."
You've got to love Richardson's optimism. You already should love his game. Unfortunately for Browns fans, I count a maximum of three wins after the bye regardless of how well Richardson feels. The Browns just aren't a very good team right now. But with Richardson, Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, Josh Cribbs and (maybe) Brandon Weeden, Cleveland has solid pieces to build around.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.