One day after the Indianapolis Colts swung a blockbuster trade for Trent Richardson, coach Chuck Pagano praised the acquisition and confirmed the team's new featured back will play a primary role against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
"We did not bring him in here to be the water boy," Pagano told reporters Thursday. "He'll be ready to go, as much as he can handle."
The message was clear: The 49ers' defense should prepare to see a heavy dose of the second-year pro who, just days ago, loomed as a centerpiece of the Cleveland Browns. Richardson went from playing with Brandon Weeden in a muddled offense to teaming with Andrew Luck in Pep Hamilton's versatile attack.
Richardson admitted Wednesday that he first heard about the trade, of all places, from a radio report:
"I turned on the radio and all of a sudden I heard," Richardson told WOIO-TV in Cleveland. "I can't believe it. I didn't see it coming from anywhere. I had a good relationship with everybody. But I guess it's the best move for the Browns. At the end of the day, it's the best move for both of us, I guess. I wanted to be a Brown, I didn't see it coming, but at the same time, I'm a Colt now, so now I've got to move on and get ready for Sunday's game."
Pagano expressed full confidence in the team's bold front office, which swapped a first-round draft pick to transform the Colts' running game from a weakness into a strength. Asked about the future of Ahmad Bradshaw, Pagano assured the room: "You can never have enough runners."
"We're trying to build something special," Pagano said. "We're trying to build a monster here."
Richardson, by the sound of it, will help right away.