As the Browns finalize their roster cuts and sort through their outside options, a team source tells PFT the team has prioritized finding a veteran running back either by trade, waiver claim or signing at some point this weekend.
The source said veteran players have relayed to the coaches their feelings that the younger backs and the offense in general will benefit from a veteran presence, on and off the field.
Second-year backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West both played a lot last season, but neither had a strong camp this summer. Third-round rookie Duke Johnson missed most of the preseason with a sore hamstring, started in the first preseason game in which he was healthy enough to play and suffered a concussion early in the second quarter, leaving both his availability and readiness for the start of the season in question.
Shaun Draughn, a veteran of four NFL seasons added late last season, missed much of the preseason with a broken thumb. He played in four games for the Browns last season but did not carry the ball.
The Browns acknowledged last month that they’ve had internal discussions about Ray Rice, and there are ties. Browns Coach Mike Pettine was in Baltimore early in Rice’s career, and Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery was Rice’s position coach for six seasons.
There have been rumors that the Broncos are trying to trade Montee Ball, and teams are also watching what happens with the Seahawks after the team added veteran Fred Jackson on Friday. The Seahawks are reportedly trying to trade Christine Michael.
Crowell sat out the preseason finale with most of the team’s regular starters. West carried nine times for 35 yards and finished the preseason having averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Crowell averaged 2.8 on 17 preseason carries.