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The news on Trent Richardson seems to get worse by the day. Thursday, the Cleveland Browns released a statement deeming the rookie running back's arthroscopic knee surgery a success. They followed that by saying they "are hopeful that he will be ready" for Cleveland's season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
That isn't an official statement that Richardson will miss the entire preseason, but it isn't encouraging, either. It's also a far cry from Wednesday's initial reports that an MRI on the former Alabama star wasn't a big deal.
In his latest Mailbag, Michael Fabiano recommended grabbing Montario Hardesty as a handcuff to Richardson. If the rookie doesn't see the field until the regular season opener, that advice goes double.
Peyton Hillis, where are you now? Oh that's right. Kansas City.
Lions RB situation still in flux
In a town known for building hot rods, it's almost paradoxical that the Detroit Lions can't keep a consistent set of wheels out of the garage.
Kevin Smith will get the starting nod for the team's preseason opener Friday against the similarly RB-challenged Browns. It helps that he's the team's best pass-blocking back. It also helps that Mikel Leshoure (hamstring) and Jahvid Best (concussion) are still out of action, leaving the Motor City Kitties with a stable of Smith, Keiland Williams, Stefan Logan and Joique Bell.
As good as Detroit's passing game is, its running game is that chaotic. As long as you have better options on draft day, take them.
» Jake Locker's expected ascendancy to the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback job may happen sooner than later if Matt Hasselbeck continues to throw interceptions at his current rate. At this point, neither is better than a second QB option on your fantasy football roster. But the one that ultimately earns the starting nod will also gain the edge on draft boards.
» Because the NFL is a copycat league, the Jacksonville Jaguars are experiencing a similar situation with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Gabbert looked lost for long stretches last season, but so far appears to be outplaying Henne in camp. Don't get too exicted since both will likely be waiver wire fodder on a team without a proven WR threat.
» Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin doesn't figure to play in the team's preseason opener as he nurses another hamstring injury. Last season, Austin's tweaked hamstrings kept him out of six games. He's a dynamic playmaker when he's on the field, but this is starting to happen a little too frequently. The good news is that he could end up as something of a value pick if those hamstrings scare people away in the draft.
» Speaking of oft-injured receivers, Seattle Seahawks wideout Sidney Rice says he'll be ready to go for the regular season opener after having offseason surgery on both shoulders. In the past two seasons, Rice has played a combined 15 games and caught four touchdowns. Seattle still isn't sure who their quarterback will be and Rice could very likely split targets with Terrell Owens. Consider him a spot starter until he proves otherwise.
» San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter is earning high praise in camp from his coaches. Jim Harbaugh told CSNBayArea.com that Hunter "really has a chance to have a big year." While it guarantees nothing, it's noteworthy in a crowded backfield that includes Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs and rookie LaMichael James. How Hunter handles the little things like pass protection and special teams work in the preseason will determine his fantasy football value in the regular season.
» Carson Palmer expects he and the Oakland Raiders offense will have a much more cohesive look this year. The reason? Palmer actually had a chance to study the playbook this offseason. That could explain some of the 16 interceptions he threw last season. From an arm strength standpoint, Palmer resembled the player that the Cincinnati Bengals originally drafted. If the Raiders can keep their stable of speedy receivers healthy, Palmer could be an impact fantasy football QB again.