CLEVELAND – Browns running back Trent Richardson (rib cartilage) is active and expected to start today against the San Diego Chargers at 1 p.m. at a soaked Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Fullback Owen Marecic was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. The fourth-round pick in 2011 has four drops and no catches this season.
The Browns don’t have a backup fullback, but tight end Alex Smith can be used as a lead blocker.
Richardson took a helmet to the side Oct. 14 and was removed in the second quarter last week after eight carries for 8 yards. He didn’t run with his normal aggressiveness and said he didn’t look like himself on film.
He was limited in practice this week but said he felt much better. The true test will be contact.
The coaches will keep a close eye on Richardson, and replace him with Montario Hardesty if he’s ineffective. The Chargers have the NFL’s second-ranked run defense, allowing 71.2 yards a game.
Cleveland receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is inactive for the fifth straight game with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice during the week. Rookie Josh Gordon, who has four touchdowns in the last three games, will again start in his place.
The other Browns inactives are: defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle), running back Brandon Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson (knee) and offensive lineman Jarrod Shaw, who was promoted from the practice squad this week.
Rookie John Hughes will take Rubin’s place in the starting lineup. Rubin had started 41 straight games before missing the Bengals game Oct. 14. He returned last week, but aggravated the injury in the first quarter and left the game.
The Browns promoted Brian Sanford from the practice squad Saturday to give them more depth on the defensive line.
For the Chargers, slot receiver Eddie Royal is inactive with a hamstring injury. The other inactives: strong safety Brandon Taylor, cornerbacks Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist, inside linebacker Jonas Mouton, defensive tackle Antonio Garay and tight end Ladarius Green.
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