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The Sports Xchange, Published September 18 2013

Browns - who face Vikings on Sunday - trade RB Trent Richardson to Indy

CLEVELAND – In a stunning move, the Cleveland Browns guaranteed their fans another transition season Wednesday when they traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick.

The move gives the Colts two of the top three players selected in the 2012 NFL draft – No. 1, quarterback Andrew Luck, and No. 3, Richardson.

It gives the Browns multiple 2014 draft choices in the first, third and fourth rounds.

More immediately, it leaves the 2013 team floundering in transition mode, as the Richardson trade followed the announcement that Bobby Hoyer is starting at quarterback Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. And the team hinted that former starter Brandon Weeden might not get the job back.

Cleveland CEO Joe Banner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday night that the Browns and Colts first discussed the trade Tuesday. He said the deal allows management to accomplish its goals going forward.

“This was more about the moment presented itself,” Banner said. “It wasn’t something where we could say, ‘Wait three weeks.’ ... We had to make that decision now.

He added, “The value that we were getting back ... made this a thing we wanted to do.”

The trade necessitated the Browns to bring in 31-year-old running back Willis McGahee, who is expected to sign if he passes his physical. McGahee was cut by the Denver Broncos after rushing for only 731 yards in 2012, although he did run for 1,199 in 2011.

Late Wednesday, Richardson’s hometown newspaper, the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, reported that the 23-year-old former Alabama star was pleased to be going to the Colts.

“Trent is very happy with the situation,” a source told the News Journal. “He doesn’t hold any hard feelings against Cleveland. He enjoyed his time there and wishes them success. He’s happy to move to another city where he can continue his career.”

According to tweets by longtime Cleveland Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot, Richardson’s perspective was he “and Weeden don’t like each other. ... says Weeden sucks. ... will never win here.” Plus she and other sources report that Richardson “HATES” the snow.

Although it does snow in Indianapolis, the Colts play indoors, where Richardson and Luck might be expected to become one of the best offensive balancing acts in the NFL.

While the Browns are not planning on making any further deals, Wednesday’s trade will allow Banner and new general manager Mike Lombardi to shape the team how they want.

“I don’t want to tip our hand about what we’re going to do,” Banner said, “but I think it puts us in a good position. ... We are positioning ourselves to build a team that is good and sustainable.”