AL HAMNIK: Grigson's Super Bowl train chugging along

2014-02-22T17:00:00Z 2014-02-26T14:44:08Z AL HAMNIK: Grigson's Super Bowl train chugging alongAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 22, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Is Trent Richardson a bust?

Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson hopes not. He gave a first-round draft pick to Cleveland before the third game last season in exchange for the young running back.

Richardson thanked Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano by rushing for only 458 yards (2.9 avg.), three touchdowns and eventually losing the starting job to Donald Brown.

During this weekend's NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, Grigson was asked at his news conference if he'd make the same trade for Richardson. "Yes," said the Highland grad, but with a caveat.

"Trent expects what we expect, and that's greatness. He knows the NFL is a bottom-line business."

No. 34's bottom line has been under the weather.

Grigson spoke on a variety of topics ranging from free agency to injury updates to the draft May 8-9-10, but gave no specifics.

He wasn't about to tip his hand. Who in their right mind would do that?

Richardson's production, or lack of, was a popular topic and Grigson didn't shy away though the word "bust" was never used.

Many media believe it to be true, however.

Richardson's career has been stuck in reverse, it seems. In 2012 with the Browns, he ran for 950 yards and 11 TDs. Last season, in two games with Cleveland, he had 105 yards rushing and was scoreless.

Offseason shoulder surgery could be an excuse, though Richardson doesn't play the blame game. And that's good when the Colts pay your salary.

"Our overall feeling is he's a tough, good, talented football player that has a broad skill set that's still learning what we do," Grigson said.

"We're optimistic about his future."

Grigson is all about production. He attacked life that way at Highland High, as a Purdue lineman, and while climbing the administrative ladder as an NFL scout.

"Best players play. Iron sharpens iron. We're still going to beat the drum on that," Grigson said. "You guys will get tired of hearing that.

"We're in Year 3 of our program and we're optimistic on where we're headed. The objective is still the same -- to get us to the next level, which is Super Bowl XLIX."

That's not hot air, not from a guy who took the reins of a dismal 2-14 franchise, then went 11-5, 12-4, and made the playoffs both seasons.

Trent Richardson has to know a promising career is waiting -- his. It's time to run wild and end any talk of a wasted first-round pick.

Wait and see is for bird watchers but this is pro football.

"I think he's in a great place and we're in a great place with him," Grigson said. "We have the bar set high for everyone. And that's to the 90th man on the roster."

But Richardson, once again, will be a focal point.

Grigson said all the Colts must improve and though there's a "big magnifying glass on him every week," coaches see positives with Richardson.

"We feel like he's going in the right direction. We got to get him going here."

That's as nice a warning as you'll ever get.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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