You truly wish a player the best when health and injury issues plague a player throughout their career, especially as said player makes their long-awaited comeback. In the case of Cleveland Browns running back Montario Hardesty, it could be all for naught again as the fourth-year running back reportedly injured his hand during 11-on-11 drills in practice.
“To see this guy work hard every day and fight back to get back, we’ve got to keep his spirits high,” Browns starting running back Trent Richardson said, via The Associated Press. “We’re praying for him and we’re going to be behind him 100 percent and we want Montario to know that we’re your boys and we’re your brothers and we’re not going to let you down.”
Hardesty garnered a ton of buzz during the preseason of his rookie year thanks to the skills he displayed in college at Tennessee, which led to his second-round selection in 2010. Hardesty was also a track star who combined blazing speed with a 200-plus-pound frame and earned Shrine Bowl Offensive MVP honors.
The Hardesty hype was quickly undermined by an ACL tear prior to his rookie year — after being dogged by knee issues during college — and wouldn’t record his first NFL carry until 2011. Thus far he’s amassed just 153 carries and 3.5 YPC in three seasons at the pro level, leaving wonder if a healthy Hardesty would have left no need to trade up to No. 3 to take Richardson last April.
Hardesty’s hand injury combined with a nagging hamstring and a haunting knee should place him firmly behind T-Rich and Dion Lewis on the depth chart provide further risk of being cut, leaving Hardesty in a tenuous position at the end of his rookie contract.