Hall of Famer Jim Brown spoke his mind about the Cleveland Browns first-round pick, running back Trent Richardson on NFL Network's Total Access.
“When I think of greatness, I think of guys like Earl Campbell and Gale Sayers and Walter Payton, and these individuals who, it’s unanimous they’re going to make a difference — when they’re coming out of college, there’s no doubt,” Brown said. “So at least we have to discuss Richardson from the standpoint of giving him an ordinary label and letting him prove to us that he’s not. And if he does that then I will apologize. But I’m going to look at things, I’m going to stand by things I see, and I think he is an ordinary individual. He has great work ethic and all-around ability. But that special ability that I look for, when I see a Gale Sayers? I don’t see that.”
Let's take a look at what Brown has seen:
There's no questioning Richardson's size, vision and, to a lesser extent, speed. In the video, however, are a lot of college defenders who had poor tackle skills. For the most part, Richardson won't have that luxury in the NFL. But for Brown to condemn the man before he's even had a single handoff in the league is a bit premature.
Is this a case of a once great player—possibly the greatest at his position—being jealous of a guy who could take his place? Doubtful. It seems simply a case of Brown being asked his opinion and him giving it.
The nice thing about Brown's statement is that he's not saying Richardson won't be successful. He's merely saying that he doesn't see the justification for all the hype that surrounded Richardson to cause him to be picked No. 3 overall by the Browns.
So I guess this just comes down to whether or not Brown is a good scout. If not—if Richardson shines in Cleveland—then Brown said he would apologize.
With Cleveland's offensive line, Brown should start working on an apology.