BEREA -- Coach Rob Chudzinski put a smile on running back Trent Richardson’s face and continued to turn up the pressure on quarterback Brandon Weeden in his news conference following the final training camp practice open to the public.
Chudzinski ended the suspense and said Richardson will play a couple of series Thursday night against Detroit. Richardson missed all of the preseason in his rookie season last year following knee surgery, and he missed last week’s opener vs. the Rams with a sore shin.
Richardson said he’s completely healthy and eager to play.
As for Weeden, Chudzinski said he’s not ready to name a starter for the regular season and called the quarterback competition with Jason Campbell “close.”
From CEO Joe Banner to general manager Michael Lombardi to Chudzinski, the offseason has been about reminding Weeden he must prove he deserves to keep the starting job handed to him as a rookie last year.
So despite Weeden taking every snap with the first-team offense throughout the offseason program and training camp, then going 10-for-13 for 112 yards, a touchdown, a 127.7 rating and 10 points on two drives against the Rams, he will enter the Lions game with a degree of uncertainty about his role.
“It’s a competitive sport and a competitive position,” Weeden said. “I have to show these guys I can play and be the man. It’s another obstacle I have to overcome.”
** Running back Montario Hardesty returned to practice for individual drills a day after dislocating his right thumb. He had a thick wrap or cast on the thumb and declined to talk to reporters.
He didn’t participate in team drills and won’t play Thursday.
** Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden (groin), receiver David Nelson (knee), offensive lineman Ryan Miller (concussion) and offensive lineman Chris Faulk (knee) remained sidelined.
** Defensive lineman Hall Davis (hamstring) and fullback Brock Bolen (calf) returned to practice.