Trent Richardson compares to Lynch, Hasselbeck says


No NFL running back made for a better punchline than Trent Richardson last season.

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His bust belongs on Mount Rushless.

He's stuck on an elevator because he can't clear the threshold of the closing doors.

Despite a meager per-carry average of 2.9 yards and an embarrassing late-season demotion, the Indianapolis Colts still believe they will have the last laugh on a trade that has been lopsided in the Browns' favor to date.

Veteran backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is the latest member of the Colts to express confidence in Richardson, relating T-Rich's struggles to those of former teammate Marshawn Lynch while settling into Seattle after a 2010 midseason trade.

"Marshawn's numbers weren't spectacular either," Hasselbeck said Monday, via the team's official website. "Everyone in the locker room understood he was doing the best he could and was working really hard.

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"It's very similar to Trent. He came in in tough circumstances. We say these OTAs matter and training camp matter and preseason matters. To put unrealistic expectations on him after he missed all that with us (was unfortunate). I would definitely expect his numbers to look better this year."

It's the same comparison we've made several times. It wasn't until Lynch's 19th game in Seattle that he cleared the 100-yard rushing mark. He topped 50 rushing yards just twice in his first nine games with the Seahawks.

Richardson has a similarly violent running style with plenty of power. On the flip side, he has also exhibited a startling lack of vision while losing the burst that was evident at Alabama.

The Colts believe Richardson will regain his suddenness and confidence now that he has a handle on the playbook. If he can't separate from the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard -- both recovering from major surgeries -- in training camp and preseason action, that first-round investment will start taking on the look of a sunk cost.

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