BEREA – Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson participated in practice this morning for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 9. Coach Pat Shurmur said he’ll start Sunday against the Eagles in the season opener if healthy.
Richardson, the No. 3 pick in the draft, never ran full speed during the 15 minutes open to the media but caught passes and took handoffs. He later participated in team drills, rotating in with the first team along with Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson. Richardson wore a sleeve on his left knee.
“He looked good,” Shurmur said after practice. “Trent looked healthy running around.”
Richardson missed the entire preseason but had been working behind the scenes to get ready for the season. He rode the stationary bike in front of reporters Saturday and practiced today.
Nickelback Dimitri Patterson (ankle/knee) and safety Bubba Ventrone (hamstring) also returned to practice. Patterson had been out since the preseason opener Aug. 10, and Ventrone since Aug. 19.
Patterson’s ankle injury was known, but he revealed he also injured the knee on the same play against the Lions when Ventrone rolled into his leg. Patterson said he felt good after practice and expects to play Sunday.
“No doubt about it,” he said.
Patterson’s presence will be even more valuable if No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden gets suspended by the NFL. He reportedly failed a drug test in the offseason and could face a four-game suspension.
The league hasn’t announced anything — it only will if there’s a suspension — and it’s unknown when the Browns would be notified in advance of the game.
Haden wouldn’t answer any questions about a suspension, including if he expects to play Sunday.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I’m not allowed to talk about any of the situation.”
Starting free safety Eric Hagg didn’t practice. Shurmur said he was sent home with the stomach flu.
Riding the stationary bikes were: offensive linemen Oniel Cousins and John Greco, tight end Jordan Cameron, running back Chris Ogbonnaya and linebacker James-Michael Johnson.
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