Oh man. I’d compare this day to Christmas Eve, or maybe even the day before St. Patty’s if you’re Irish and drinking is your thing, but neither of those events come close to the childlike giddiness we’re all experiencing right now.

You see, there was once a time when the excitement over the start of football season and, more importantly, fantasy football season was countered by the depression of school starting. There really was nothing worse than sitting down to the opening night game with the semester’s first algebra assignment watching, waiting, and taunting. Remember kids, math isn’t important, and you don’t need it to succeed in your future endeavors. Just look at me.

Now, though, for me and many others the distraction of education that will improve your future quality of life is long gone, so we can focus solely on wetting ourselves over the return of football, and go about the business of scrutinizing injuries and setting lineups for the week. Ahhh, bliss.

A little later on today we’ll have a full injury roundup, touching on the current status of all the major injuries that you’ll need to worry about this week. For now, let’s focus on Trent Richardson, mostly for selfish reasons because my excitement to watch him play has reached an unhealthy level. It’s to the point that I sort of want algebra homework so that I can procrastinate, and feel young again.

Richardson, of course, is the stud rookie Browns running back who — along with Brandon Weeden — is tasked with turning around a woefully inept franchise. Yeah, no biggie.

And he’ll be doing it after two knee surgeries since last January, the most recent one coming in the middle of training camp when he experienced swelling in his knee, and a scope was required. Immediately after that procedure was done, it was expected that he’d be ready for Week 1. After he returned to practice yesterday for the first time since Aug. 9, it’s looking like that’s still the case.

He wore a black protective sleeve on the injured knee during yesterday’s workout, but his participation wasn’t limited. Now throughout the week his knee will be monitored to see how it responds to the activity, and the contact.

Yesterday head coach Pat Shurmur said about as much as you’d expect a head coach to say on a Monday about a major injury, which was close to nothing. He didn’t disclose when a decision will be made on Richardson regarding his status for the Browns’ opener at home Sunday against Philadelphia, but he did say that if he’s deemed healthy enough to play, he’ll be the starter.

Quite appropriately on the first day of school, the sound you just heard was Richardson’s fantasy owners shrieking with delight, myself included.

From The Associated Press:

”If he’s ready to go, he will be our starter,” Shurmur said. ”Trent looked good. He was in team (drills). I knew he’d be out here and he did a good job. It was his first day back in practice, so we did what we could do. Trent looked healthy running around.”

Shurmur wouldn’t say when a decision will be made on Richardson making his pro debut .

”Each person is different when they come back from injury,” he said. ”We’ll see as we go. All along I’ve been hopeful that he’d be there.’

He’ll either play and go full throttle without being babied, or he’ll sit. Since the Browns have their only full-pad practice this week on Thursday, we’ll likely get a definitive word on Richardson by then, and if the latter and crappier option is the decision Shurmur rolls with and he sits the prized rookie (which seems unlikely), you’ll have plenty of time to make alternate plans.

Hopefully you handcuffed Montario Hardesty to Richardson if you didn’t have the opportunity to invest in another trustworthy and capable backup. Not to worry, though, because if you’re in a league with medium or shallow depth, Hardesty is surely still available.

But yeah, starting Hardesty is a pretty depressing way to begin the fantasy season. Like algebra depressing.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Since this is the fake Monday morning and you’re all groggy after either sending kids to school or inhaling campfire smoke all weekend, I’ll take it easy on the surprises. So hey look, Mike Wallace is starting this week. [Behind the Steel Curtain]
  • We’ll have more on the Maurice Jones-Drew fallout a little later, and how you should handle him for Week 1, and in the remaining drafts if you’re a late drafter. But for now here’s some more news that’s something less than surprising: Mike Mularkey will use MJD very, very sparingly this week. [John Oehser on Twitter]
  • You missed a lot over the weekend, just like I did as I was attempting to sleep in stupidly cold northern Ontario temperatures. But if you only have time to play catch up with one item, make it this one on Peyton Manning’s return. And if you already weren’t sold on his fantasy value, this will accelerate that plummet. [Judy Battista]
  • Starting tomorrow you’re going to be fed narratives by broadcasters who seek to warp your opinion on events happening right in front of your eyes mostly by telling you that said events have a direct impact on the outcome of the game if they continue. Often, this is true, but as it pertains to rushing yards in the first half, they’re lying. [Pro Football Reference]
  • There still hasn’t been any progress of significance between the league and the locked out officials. This will happen, and it’ll happen soon: some lingerie league ref will cost you a fantasy win. [The Associated Press]
  • The gap between the league and its regular, reasonably competent officials is $70 million. So yeah, there’s that too. [PFT]
  • Evan Royster has been named the staring running back in Washington. Also, you’re a Redskins backup, and you’ll soon be called on for one week to take Royster’s place. The following week, your uncle Ned will get his turn. [CSN Washington]