When Jim Brown described Trent Richardson as "ordinary," the Browns rookie running back took it in stride, saying he would use it as motivation to make the Hall of Famer a believer.
"I let my game speak for itself, so if they want to see how mad I am, or how upset they got me about the comment, you'll see Sunday," Richardson told The Plain Dealer.
The Browns play at the Bengals in what is typically called the Battle of Ohio. But this is setting up to be a battle between Maualuga and Richardson.
Asked if Richardson is going to knock off Maualuga's helmet like he did Sunday to an Eagles defender, he said, "I might. You never know. You never know what can happen out there on that field."
Richardson ran hard in his NFL debut, but he managed a pedestrian 39 yards on 19 carries (2.1-yard average). Maualuga's remarks could provide an early spark for Richardson, an emotional and physical runner.
The Browns are looking for more out of their ground game, especially after lackluster results against the Bengals last season. No Cleveland running back gained more than 65 yards in a game against Cincinnati last season. The longest run was a 20-yarder from quarterback Colt McCoy. If Richardson wants to break a longer run than that, he'll likely have to go through Maualuga.