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Browns' Hardesty top option with Richardson sidelined

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Posted Aug. 19, 2012 @ 1:46 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Browns are optimistic rookie RB Trent Richardson will be back in time for the season opener vs. Philadelphia on Sept. 9, but in the event he’s not ready after arthoscopic knee surgery in early August, third-year pro Montario Hardesty likely would be the primary ballcarrier for Cleveland. Hardesty has secured the No. 2 spot on the depth chart and will be the top relief option for Richardson. Hardesty fought injuries his first two NFL seasons, but he has fared better this summer. In extended action in the Browns’ second preseason game, Hardesty gained 45 yards on 12 carries in a win at Green Bay. Hardesty lost a fumble on his first carry, but played fairly well thereafter. “There were some times when there wasn’t much daylight and he got us four yards,” Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said. “… He seemed like he handled the pounding pretty well.” Whereas Richardson is more of an all-downs option, Hardesty’s role primarily will be to grind out yards between the tackles. Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya would see more time in passing situations if Richardson is out of the lineup, we're told. 

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