It’s one thing in the sports world to be confident of your abilities and talent.
It’s quite another when that confidence turns into cockiness.
And then there’s Trent Richardson.
The Browns’ rookie running back, who has yet to get his first National Football League carry, has taken confidence and cockiness to a new level.
“I want to be the best thing that ever happened to Cleveland,” he told Fox Sports at last week’s NFL Rookie Symposium in suburban Cleveland. “I want to be that type of all-time guy when it comes down to it.”
Ah, the innocence of youth. The naiveté of youth.
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. But to take it to such extreme levels gives off the wrong impression of the young man.
It appears as though he’s reacting – maybe overreacting – to Jim Brown’s contention that he is nothing more than an “ordinary” running back.
The former Browns great, probably overreacting himself to the notion that the young man from Alabama is the best running back to come out of the draft since Adrian Peterson, has had an uneasy relationship with the new front office lately and the prized rookie is his latest target.
Richardson no doubt wants to prove Brown incorrect; that he’s anything but ordinary. But he resorts to hyperbole to get his message across.
He doesn’t have to.
Sure, he didn’t say he will be the best thing that ever happened to Cleveland; that he will be that type of all-time guy when it comes down to it.
But the fact he addressed the subject in the first place showed he was hurt by Brown’s remarks and this was the only way he could strike back. It didn’t have to be.
I prefer the kind of athlete who keeps his mouth shut, goes out and does his job well, takes pride in his accomplishments and allows that to speak for him. In his nine seasons with the Browns, that’s the kind of player Brown was.
He said very little, at least not publicly, went about his business and let that stand as his legacy. And quite a legacy it has been. No one can argue what he accomplished in those nine seasons.
Later in the Fox interview, Richardson allowed that Brown’s remarks would serve as a motivator.
“For him to be an icon and someone you look up to, hopefully I have half the career that man did,” he said. “I haven’t done anything yet. But I know in my head that I’ve got to show everybody I’m not an ordinary running back.
“To hear comments like that is nothing but motivation. I don’t have to debate and talk about my game. I let my film show it.”
Now that’s more like it. Brown’s words obviously stung Richardson. All he has to do now is go out and back up his own words. Quietly.
In the end, when all is said and done, Richardson had better be right or else the fall will be hard, extremely painful and downright embarrassing.