Although free-agent running back Trent Richardson remains unsigned, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday the team is counting on adding him to its roster in 2016 and giving him an opportunity to write a comeback story.
"I'm planning on Trent being a Raven right now," Harbaugh told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. "We have an unofficial agreement with Trent. Hopefully, no one will come in and swoop him away from us."
The Cleveland Browns made Richardson, 25, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft on the heels of his stellar career at the University of Alabama, where he rushed for 3,243 yards and 35 touchdowns in three seasons.
But the Browns traded him to the Indianapolis Colts after one season, and the Colts released him after he averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 2014. A tryout with the Oakland Raiders didn't produce a job, and Richardson was out of the NFL last season.
Although the Ravens are already deep in running backs with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West and Lorenzo Taliaferro on their roster, General Manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed last month that they were contemplating signing Richardson.
Harbaugh has stayed in touch with Richardson and is encouraging the four-year veteran to continue to get into strong physical shape.
"It's in Trent's court. Ozzie and Trent have talked a lot. I text with Trent all the time. He's keeping me posted on his training," Harbaugh said. "I'm kind of excited about it. Talking on the phone, I really liked him. He's a high-caliber, high-draft pick guy and it seems like he's really motivated. Wants to do well."
Harbaugh encouraged Richardson to continue preparing for the Ravens' OTA practice season, which begins next month.
"Trent, keep working, man, keep working hard. See you in a couple of weeks," Harbaugh said.