ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Out on the field, in uniform this summer, he was just No. 33.
He was just a guy in a sea of players, some great ones, many certain to make the 53-man roster, and others just trying to hang on. No. 33 was lumped with that last group.
He looked like a small, ordinary running back. He struggled to show much vision, cutting ability and burst. Those are all things essential for a great running back, and often reserved for those taken high in the draft.
Trent Richardson just wasn’t that guy in Oakland. He deserved to be cut in the round of 75, as he was Tuesday, because he was just a guy.
The only thing newsworthy in Oakland about his release was the Raiders were silly enough to give him $600,000 in guaranteed money this spring.
The Browns used the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft on Richardson, who played on two national championship teams at Alabama. The top running back prospect in his class, Richardson finished third in the Heisman voting to Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.
In his first season with the Browns, Richardson played 15 games and finished with a respectable 950 yards and 11 touchdowns but averaged 3.6 yards a carry. Then, two games into the 2013, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, who gave up first-rounder of their own for Richardson.
Richardson, who turned 25 in July, convinced two different teams to use first-round picks on him only for them to quickly regret it. Richardson has a 3.3 yard-per-carry average in the NFL and had no 100-yard games after Week 9 of his rookie season. Those pitiful number may never change.
What team is going to give him another chance? Why would they? That’s the significance of his release in Oakland. It’s not that he’s no longer a Raider. It’s that he is may no longer be an NFL player.
Tuesday, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark piled on, calling Richardson the worst NFL running back ever to play. After his latest failure, Richardson probably won’t get a chance to prove Clark wrong.