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BEREA, Ohio — One of Trent Richardson’s goals is to be one of the best running backs in NFL history, a Hall of Famer like Marshall Faulk. And Faulk believes Richardson is on a path to greatness.
“He has it in him,” Faulk said about Cleveland’s second-year star. “It’s in him to be great. He wants it.”
Richardson and Faulk had a chance to catch up and talk some football Wednesday after practice.
Faulk, who works as an analyst for the NFL Network, was at Cleveland’s training camp to report on the Browns, who are counting on Richardson to build off his solid rookie season, when he rushed for 950 yards despite playing most of the year with two broken ribs.
The two backs have known each other for a few years, and Richardson has long admired Faulk, one of the most versatile backs in league history. During a 12-year career with Indianapolis and St. Louis, Faulk rushed for 12,279 yards, grabbed 767 receptions for 6,875 yards, and scored 136 combined touchdowns.
Faulk was elusive, durable, and versatile. Richardson would love to follow in his footsteps. “I’m trying to get to where he is today,” Richardson said.
Richardson has another Hall of Fame mentor in Jim Brown, who is back working as an adviser with his former team.
“It’s big having him out here at practice,” Richardson said. “Him, me, and Jim Brown on the same field, that’s a powerful field. That’s a strong moment to have both of them on the field at the same time.”
It’s interesting that Faulk and Brown (12,321) are only separated by 33 yards on the career rushing chart. Richardson wears No. 33.
Richardson first met Faulk at the NFL Combine a few years ago, and the two have stayed in touch since. But even before he got to know Faulk, Richardson studied the former star, hoping to pick up something he could use to make his game better.
“I learned a lot from Marshall as far as watching film on him,” said Richardson, who arrived at camp about 10 pounds lighter than he was last season. “When we were at Alabama, we used to watch a lot of film on Marshall. I still study a lot of his game, go back and watch a lot of his film on certain stuff that he do.
“And I give him phone calls every now and again and ask him what I need to do better, what I need to work hard on.”
Faulk believes Richardson has everything he needs to succeed. Following practice, Richardson and Faulk filmed a segment together on the field. Richardson, who had 51 catches last season, got some tips on running pass routes from Faulk, who was a nightmare for any linebacker or defensive back to cover when he came out of the backfield.
Faulk showed Richardson than finer points on a quick route he mastered.
“He calls it the ‘Faulk’ route but a lot of people call in the ‘angle’ route,” Richardson said. “He was like the king of it, he’s still the king of it. I haven’t seen nobody run it like him.”
PRO BOWL: The NFL Pro Bowl rosters for next year will be selected in a draft by team captains, with Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice assisting as alumni captains.
The NFL will abandon the AFC vs. NFC format that has been in place since 1971.
The league says that fan voting will determine the players in the draft pool. The draft will be televised by the NFL Network on Jan. 22.
The ball will change hands at the end of each quarter, which could double the opportunities for two-minute drills. Kickoffs (and return specialists) will be eliminated — teams will start on their own 25. Defenses will be allowed to play cover-2 and press coverage in addition to man.