Trent Richardson, whose helmet-to-helmet smash on Eagles safety Kurt Coleman was used as Exhibit A to get a controversial new crown rule passed Wednesday, feels responsible for spoiling things for his NFL brethren. "I feel like I made it bad for all the backs," Richardson told The Plain Dealer today. "I feel like it's my fault." He's fairly certain that his name will always be attached to the rule, which prohibits runners from using the crown of their helmets to fend off defenders in the open field. "People keep telling me it's the T-Rich rule," he said. "I guess I made history today." It's not exactly what Richardson wants named after him. "I know why they did it, but I won't say that I fully agree with it," he said. "I'm not saying it's a dumb rule, but the backs are all talking about it and it's kind of hard on us." At the NFL owners meetings, the competition committee showed video of Richardson's hit on Coleman that sent Coleman's helmet flying. At the time, the crunching blow drew thunderous cheers from fans, but now it would attract a 15-yard penalty and probably a fine. "That hit made me a hero with Browns fans, but that was just me playing football," Richardson said. "That hit made history right there and it was big." The rule passed 31-1, with only Bengals owner Mike Brown voting against. He told the Cincinnati Enquirer he felt it would too hard to officiate. The fact the Browns voted for it is "shocking to me," said Richardson. "But I understand why they did it. They're going to do whatever it takes to keep guys safe. I kind of understand all of that, but it's tough for the runners on our end." The new rule makes illegal for a "runner or tackler to initiate forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box." Violators will receive a 15-yard penalty and potential fine. "I don't know how they're going call it, but (laughing) most likely I'm going to be the one getting all the fines and all the penalties because I just know I just can't change the way I play the game," he said. Richardson said he'll still be the violent runner he's always been. "I'll still play me," he said. "I'll still play the way I play. ... I'm going to try to be as safe as I can, but I'm going to protect myself first. I know there are a lot of runners that feel the way I feel." He said he had no intentions of striking Coleman in the head. "It just happened," Richardson said. "It was just me and him, and he was trying to hit me. It just comes natural, when you lower your shoulder, your head comes down with it. "I'm not trying to harm no other players, that's just not me. But I do bring a lot of pain when I run, and I understand where it's coming from. If you ask Bo Jackson, Emmitt Smith, guys like that, the rule is kind of frustrating when it comes to being a running back." Smith, one of Richardson's biggest mentors, told the Dallas Morning News that the new rule "is a little ridiculous. I don't think the person that's actually evaluating it appropriately is really thinking about the running back in terms of the other areas that he is going to expose himself to." Richardson agreed. "Some stuff you can't take away from football," he said. "As runners, we get hit all the time. I played the whole season with broken ribs. When it comes down to it, your head protects you from a lot of that stuff. Now I know how defensive players feel whenever they change the rules." Richardson said that most likely, he'll just end up having to pay the fines. "It's not going to be nothing on purpose and I'm going to try to do the best I can with it."
Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson on new crown rule: 'I feel like it's my fault'
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Mar 21