2012 NFL Draft: Trent Richardson skips Alabama pro day after failing to perform at combine

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26: Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Eltoro Freeman #21 and Neiko Thorpe #15 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

In the never-ending debate about Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne and what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should do with the fifth overall pick, some new information may change things. In this case, the information is that Alabama running back Trent Richardson will not work out at his pro day, as reported by CBS Sports. He is expected to work out for teams later this month instead.

Trent Richardson's knee injury first came to light at the NFL Scouting Combine, when he declined to participate in drills owing to a knee injury. He had had surgery characterized as minor by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, after suffering an injury prior to the national championship game. At the time the back was expected to be ready for his pro day, but according to his agent Jimmy Sexton he is just 'close to' ready.

This development is reminiscent of last year's injury-plagued star Da'Quan Bowers, who was at one point projected as the first overall pick but eventually fell all the way to the second half of the second round where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers snapped him up. When Bowers' injury was initially reported, the injury was not believed to be serious, nor did observers think it would affect his draft status. It wasn't until two weeks later that Bowers' knee surgery was characterized as a concern, after he missed his pro day. That eventually turned into a full-fledged disaster for the young defensive end. The first reports of the severity of his knee injury came around the second week of March - which is where we're headed now, too. While Richardson's agent is now downplaying the extent of the knee injury, keep in mind that he'd be a fool to do otherwise. Da'Quan Bowers claimed to be at 100% at the NFL combine last year, too, and that didn't turn out to be entirely truthful.

So, we now have a secret knee injury, a missed combine, and a missed pro day. While it's entirely possible that Richardson's knee injury is indeed relatively innocuous, this is at the very least a concern - and it could certainly push the back down draft boards.

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