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Trent Richardson to be three-down back for Browns

The beeline through Cleveland's offseason has been the crafting of a reimagined passing attack that promises to push the ball downfield. That's good news for an offense that put viewers to sleep last year, but the Browns are going nowhere without a full helping of Trent Richardson.

The team's starting running back is in for a massive workload after Cleveland lost third-down option Dion Lewis for the season to a fractured left fibula. Only the untested Bobby Rainey and undrafted rookie Dennis Johnson sit behind T-Rich on the depth chart.

"You always expect your role to get bigger every day when you've got guys done for the year," Richardson told reporters Monday, per The Chronicle-Telegram. "You just got to step up and get in shape. Just take it upon yourself, put the team on your back, whatever it takes."

Richardson rarely was used on third downs in the preseason, but that will change against the Miami Dolphins in the Brownsseason opener.

"Third down on Sunday, me and (fullback Chris Ogbonnaya) will be out there," Richardson said.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinksi backed it up, saying: "We want Trent to be able to play as much as possible."

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner this summer touted Richardson as a runner in line for 300-plus carries. Assuming he stays healthy, we'd put that figure closer to 350, likely placing him among the NFL's top-five backs in touches. Richardson's durability is the only question mark standing in the way of a massive campaign for the Browns.

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