If a player — any player at all, at any position — is going to do something productive and contribute in any way whatsoever, there’s one essential piece of equipment he needs to wear. No, not a cup, although that’s highly recommended.

It’s a helmet. In a game where head beatings are commonplace, modern technology has done wonders to guard the head and the brain matter inside. So when a player isn’t wearing his helmet and is instead stylin’ with a hat on while standing and doing nothing on the sideline, that’s not ideal for your fantasy bottom line.

Feel the pain, Trent Richardson owners.

The Browns uber rookie running back was limited in practice for much of this week due to a rib injury, although his playing status for Cleveland’s game today against Indianapolis didn’t seem to be in serious doubt. And it wasn’t, because he was given the widely expected positive game-time decision, and everything seemed rosy and peachy, with T-Rich set to torch a Colts run defense that allowed Shonn Greene to leisurely stroll for 161 yards and three touchdowns last week.

Sure, everything was fine, until it wasn’t. Early in the second half after a highly unproductive game to that point (only eight yards on, um, eight carries) Richardson reminded us that the excitement of a game-time decision that goes in your favor and keeps that stud RB in the game on Sunday can be short-lived and ultimately meaningless. You see, the problem with battling back from an injury all week is that on Sunday, the player in question is still hurt. There’s no magic tonic that’s infused into veins the moment a player is declared active.

So when he was clearly hurting and struggling, Richardson was sat down, and he assumed the aforementioned helmet off with only a hat on his head stance on the Cleveland sideline. His day is presumably and most likely done after he re-aggravated his rib injury, which is an extra kick to the hind region for Richardson owners who spent their waiver priority on Montario Hardesty this week, only to see Richardson start and play just briefly, rendering two players on your roster useless.

As I write this, the Browns’ leading rusher is Brandon Weeden, their quarterback who had 13 yards on a scramble. Combined, their three running backs (Richardson, Hardesty, and Chris Ogbonnaya) have a 21 yards. How very Browns of them.

Oh and hey, remember last April when everyone who owned a computer wrote that drafting a running back with a top five pick in today’s NFL could be franchise suicide due to the extremely short shelf life of the position? Yeah, for those keeping score, Richardson already had a knee scope in August, and he’s now essentially missed a game — only his seventh career game — with a rib injury. Just sayin’.

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