The NFL adopted a new rule this week which will penalize ball carriers for initiating contact with the crown of their helmets in the open field. The reaction has been strong, and now Browns running back Trent Richardson is trying to take the blame because of this hit on Kurt Coleman in. Trent Richardson joined The Hooligans on ESPN Radio in Cleveland to discuss the controversial new rule that he might have helped bring about, his role in Cleveland’s new offense and what the Browns have done to the defense in free agency.
On the new rule penalizing ball carriers for initiating contact with the crown of their helmets in the open field:
“I agree with making the NFL more safer for the players and stuff, but just the way I run, that’s not going to stop me at all. I’m going to do what I’ve always done and that’s the only way I know. I’ve been doing that since [my] youth. I’ve been doing that since I was 6 years old, and you can’t switch up the way you’ve been playing for 17 years. … I just can’t switch that up, and that’s something that’s always going to be embedded in me. I try not to lead with my head like that but if somebody’s up high to me that’s what they’re going to get. I try to get low and they’re telling us now that we can’t lead with our head with space in open field? I’m not gonna try to do it, but if it happens it happens. I’m just gonna have to be the guy to get a lot of penalties.”
On it being natural for ball carriers to initiate contact with their helmets:
“It’s a natural reaction, and it’s really just us trying to protect ourselves. And I agree with Roger Goodell trying to make the NFL more safer, but for us as runners it’s kind of hard for us not to make ourselves safer. Ducking the head — that’s kind of tough on our end to just stop doing that. That’s just a natural reaction.”
More on the how difficult the new rule will make it on him and some of his peers:
“I kind of understand how defensive players feel now. … We can complain all we want, man, but rules are rules. And it’s kind of crazy for us that we’ve gotta try to change up our style now. For some guys like me and Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, a lot of guys that like to run people over, that’s all we know.”
On if he’s been told what’s expected of him in the new Cleveland offense:
“Oh yeah. They told me I better be in the best shape ever. They told me they’re gonna run the shoes off of me. They’re gonna pass me the ball more. … They’re going to do whatever they can … and they want me to be a leader for this team. Voice-wise, they want me to lead the group. They want me to get on that horse, man. They want me to be that stallion that’s gonna take this program to another level. They’re putting all this stress on me and all this faith in me, man, and so I know what my job is. I know what I gotta do.”
On what the Browns have done thus far in free agency:
“It is incredible what they’re doing to the defense. And I’m just looking at what they’re gonna do with the offense next. If they’re just talking about going in the draft with offense, which they might be, and they’re just making a lot of defensive moves in free agency, that might be the story. They might be trying to pick up a lot of offensive guys this year, or they might be waiting for the last minute to pick up offensive guys.