Refuting all speculation and baseless reports to the contrary, Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren said that he urged the team’s general manager to pull the trigger on the deal which ultimately netted the duo a brand new running back in Alabama’s Trent Richardson.
Sensing that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (among others) were considering a move that would leapfrog the Browns for the all-purpose back, Heckert used a fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selection to move up one spot and secure the player whom they coveted. Following the move, CBS analyst Mike Freeman concluded that the Browns were “duped” into the move and that they paid more for a player they could have had at the fourth-overall spot, citing that “the entire NFL knew the obvious.” Holmgren, in defense of his staff, stated that this was patently false.
“Contrary to what was written and said yesterday, we had to compete [for Richardson],” said Holmgren following the Saturday afternoon festivities. “We weren’t the Lone Ranger in that deal.’
“My conversations with [Browns head coach] Pat [Shurmur] and Tom were,” Holmgren continued, “‘if you even think somebody is going to is jump us, then what are we going to do to prevent that from happening? We had that conversation many, many times – how far were we willing to go to do this? Tom did a masterful job of setting that thing up. I thought it was an excellent trade because we got the player who, Lord willing, stay healthy and all those things, is going to be a really fine player for us for a long time.”
Richardson will be counted to to step in immediately and help improve an offense that was among the league’s worst in 2011.