As days turned to weeks, Trent Richardson's frustration grew almost to anger.
Unable to play in the preseason or even practice with the Browns following knee surgery, Cleveland's prized rookie running back was forced to work out on his own. Richardson's dream of playing in the NFL was put on hold, and there wasn't anything he could do but look at it as another obstacle to overcome.
"It's been a fight," he said.
He's ready for his next one.
Richardson practiced Wednesday for the second time since undergoing his second knee operation this year on Aug. 9, and it appears the third overall pick in April's draft will make his delayed debut Sunday when the Browns open the regular season at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
After missing all four preseason games, Richardson is eager to make an impact on his new team, city and league.
"I can't stand watching preseason games without being out there," he said after practice. "It's been a long time since I've touched a football. I've got to make sure I'm part of this team. I've got to get on that field and contribute to this team. Just watching, I was very antsy. I had to take that time and realize this might be the best thing for my career to get my leg right."
The Browns are ready for him.
Cleveland ranked 28th in rushing last season and scored a league-low four touchdowns on the ground. The 5-foot-8, 230-pound Richardson, with the physique of a bodybuilder and speed of a track star, will bolster a Browns offense that scored just 218 points last season.
NFL to give $30M for medical research
The NFL has pledged $30 million for medical research to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday announced the donation to the foundation, which helps raise private funding for the NIH, the nation's leading medical research agency.
The same day the grant was announced, researchers published a study indicating that former NFL players are unusually prone to dying from degenerative brain disease.
The work, presented online in the journal Neurology, drew on a long-running study of more than 3,400 NFL players with at least five playing seasons in the league between 1959 and 1988. Some 334 had died by the end of 2007, the cutoff for the study.
Researchers found that deaths from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's diseases, when combined, reached about three times the rate one would predict from the general population.
Judge doubts settlement in bounty case
A federal judge has all but ruled out any prospects for a settlement in the case of four NFL players challenging their bounty suspensions.
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan issued an order Wednesday in which she lamented the failure of settlement talks, then asked for more filings pertaining to the players' request for a temporary restraining order that would allow them to return to their teams while their case against the NFL proceeds.
Berrigan wrote that she believes the four players' interests have been undermined by "longstanding acrimony among all of the attorneys representing all of the parties that predates these disputes."
Her comments were an apparent allusion to rivalries between representatives of the NFL and NFL Players Association which date back to previous disagreements including the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement that came together only after a bitter, several-month lockout.
Around the league
Seahawks • Running back Marshawn Lynch is a question mark going into Sunday's game with a sore back that has kept him out of the last two preseason games and most of practice during that stretch. Back spasms popped up following Seattle's exhibition win at Denver on Aug. 18. Coach Pete Carroll said the team will take a day-to-day approach with Lynch for the rest of this week.
Bears • Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher practiced Wednesday as the Chicago continued to prepare for its season opener against Indianapolis. Urlacher injured his left knee in the final game last season and has been sidelined for most of the preseason. He had arthroscopic surgery in mid-August.
Redskins • Strong safety Brandon Meriweather will miss the season opener against New Orleans because of sprained ligaments in his left knee. Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday that Meriweather hurt the knee in practice on Monday. He could be out from two to four weeks.
Week 1 schedule
Dallas 24, N.Y. Giants 17
Indianapolis at Chicago, 11 a.m.
Jacksonville at Minnesota, 11 a.m.
Miami at Houston, 11 a.m.
New England at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Washington at New Orleans, 11 a.m.
Atlanta at Kansas City, 11 a.m.
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.
St. Louis at Detroit, 11 a.m.
Philadelphia at Cleveland, 11 a.m.
Seattle at Arizona, 2:25 p.m.
San Francisco at Green Bay, 2:25 p.m.
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 2:25 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Denver, 6:20 p.m.
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 5 p.m.
San Diego at Oakland, 8:15 p.m.