BEREA — Trent Richardson attended the same high school as Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. The talented rookie also owned a No. 22 Cowboys jersey with Smith’s name on it.
On Sunday afternoon, Richardson hopes to play in front of his idol for the first time as a professional when the Browns travel to Dallas.
“I’m one of Emmitt’s biggest fans, so it would mean a lot to me if he’s at the game,” Richardson said Wednesday following practice. “He’s someone who I’ve gotten to know pretty well and he’s a great man.
“We talk probably two or three times a month, and the thing I appreciate the most is he’ll be straight with you. He’ll tell me exactly how I’ve been doing and what I need to do to get better.”
Smith regularly attends Cowboys home games and resides in North Texas, but team officials couldn’t guarantee his attendance this weekend. The Pensacola Escambia High graduate is completing on the all-star edition of “Dancing With The Stars,” which airs live from Hollywood each Monday.
Not surprisingly, Richardson said he is tuning in each week to watch Smith strut his stuff in the ballroom.
“Definitely, he got moves, man,” the third overall draft pick said, laughing. “He’s a champion in all phases; dancing, playing football, everything.”
Smith still sits atop the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 18,355 yards (eight years after his retirement), while Richardson leads Cleveland with 575 yards through nine games this season.
Though Richardson is quick to say he hasn’t earned the right to be compared to his mentor, it’s worth noting that he is on pace to eclipse Smith’s rookie rushing total of 937 yards with Dallas in 1990.
“He’s the person I wanted to be like the most when I was growing up,” Richardson said. “I watched him all the time, just like I go back and watch tapes of Walter Payton and Jim Brown.
“How can you be a great running back if you don’t watch tapes of guys like that to learn from?”
Richardson added that his ailing ribs feel much better after the Browns’ bye week, but he still isn’t close to 100 percent healthy. The 5-foot-9, 230-pounder suffered torn cartilage during Cleveland’s Oct. 14 victory over Cincinnati.
“He says he’s healthier, but I haven’t like punched him in the ribs or anything to check,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur joked. “But he’s going to be out there practicing and said he feels good. That’s a positive sign for our team.”
Browns cornerback Dimitri Patterson (left high ankle sprain) did not practice and said he will not play in Dallas. He was hurt on Oct. 7 at the New York Giants.
“I just started running, so that’s going good, and I haven’t had any setbacks,” Patterson said. “I don’t have an exact time, but not this week. I am getting close. I just don’t know if it will be next Sunday (against Pittsburgh on Nov. 25).
Cornerback Joe Haden (oblique), defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf), and cornerback Buster Skrine (ankle) were limited.
Full participants were quarterback Brandon Weeden (groin, thigh), running back Trent Richardson (chest, rib, finger), wide receivers Joshua Cribbs (wrist) and Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (calf), defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder), safeties T.J. Ward (hand) and Ray “Bubba” Ventrone (hand, calf), and defensive tackle Phil Taylor (chest, ankle).
For the Cowboys, running back DeMarco Murray (foot), fullback Lawrence Vickers (knee), defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (ankle), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring), cornerback Mike Jenkins (back), and centers Phil Costa (ankle) and Ryan Cook (knee) did not practice.
Linebacker Dan Connor (neck) and nose tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle) took part in all team drills.
Four-year veteran John Greco has started the last three games at left guard, taking over for Jason Pinkston (blood clots in lungs). Since stepping in midway through the Indianapolis game on Oct. 21, Greco hasn’t missed a snap and has helped Richardson rush for 100 yards twice.
“It’s always hard to come in and take over for a starter that goes down in the middle of the year, but I think John has done a really good job,” five-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said.
“He’s got the most experience and he’s actually one of the older guys on the o-line. He was our most readied backup, so it’s been a pretty seamless transition.”
The 27-year-old Greco also drew praise from Shurmur, who even compared his play to the man he replaced. Pinkston was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Oct. 22.
“I think he’s had steady performances,” Shurmur said. “As far as a drop-off from Pinkston, I would say no.”
A camera crew from NFL Films has been in Berea all week, gathering behind-the-scenes footage for the Travel Channel series, “NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns,” which premieres Dec. 4 at 10 p.m.
Filming is scheduled to continue through Cleveland’s Dec. 2 game at Oakland, including exclusive interviews with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III and other team executives.
RIVR Media, which is partnering with Travel Channel and NFL Films on the project, was co-founded by Haslam’s wife, Dee Bagwell Haslam, in 1994. It currently has reality shows airing on HGTV, DIY Network, and Great American Country.
Travel Channel is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, whose portfolio also includes WEWS-TV 5.
- Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will call the Browns/Cowboys game on CBS, which is the network’s designated No. 1 matchup at 1 p.m. It is slated to air in more than half of the nation, but will only been seen in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo in the state of Ohio.
- Tight end Benjamin Watson will serve as the Browns’ fourth game captain at Cowboys Stadium.
- Defensive lineman Ricky Elmore — a second-year pro from Arizona — was added to Cleveland’s practice squad. The
6-foot-5, 255-pounder previously spent time with the Packers, 49ers, Chargers and Cardinals, but has not played in a regular season game.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.