The ugly break-up between the Indianapolis Colts and Trent Richardson appears to be just getting started.
After the Colts cut Richardson on Thursday, the former No. 3-overall pick told ESPN’s Mike Wells that the team was not justified in suspending him for conduct detrimental to the team. Wells reports that he’ll likely file a grievance to get back the $US3.1 million in salary that he’ll lose by getting cut.
The language in Richardson’s contract allowed the Colts to void his 2015 guaranteed salary if he was suspended by the team. He was inactive for Indy’s second playoff game against the Denver Broncos, and then suspended for the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots after missing a walkthrough.
Stephen Holder on the Indianapolis Star reported in February that he missed the walkthrough because of “serious complications with his girlfriend’s pregnancy that could potentially have endangered the life of the child.” He added that the official reason for the suspension was that he “failed to contact team officials about his absence in a timely manner.”
In his postseason press conference, GM Ryan Grigson said the suspension was for “personal reasons,” and did not elaborate.
In an interview with Wells, Richardson suggested that disputes over his weight played a part in his suspension. He said the team repeatedly fined him for being overweight by only three pounds, which isn’t grounds for voiding his contract:
“We had made an agreement where I’d weigh 230 pounds, but it turns out that I was supposed to be 227 pounds and they didn’t tell me that. We’ve got a list of things we can use against the Colts where I can get my money back. They were fining me for failing to meet conduct code. Not making weight is not conduct code.”
According to Holder, teams can fine players $US545 per day per pound that they’re overweight. If Richardson missed making weight 14 times — as Wells reported — he could have potentially racked up nearly $US23,000 in weight penalties.
As Richardson says, though, those weight violations alone wouldn’t be enough for the Colts to void Richardson’s contract under the collective bargaining agreement.
Richardson was a disappointment in Indianapolis after the Colts traded a first-round pick for him in 2013. Despite all his struggles, he’s still only 24 years old, and has confidence that he can turn things around.
“Hey, they doubted Marshawn Lynch for three years until he got to Seattle,” he told the Indy Star. “Look at him now.”
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