Browns GM Tom Heckert said the team is planning on going with undrafted rookie free agent running back Armond Smith as the third back, rather than sign a veteran released by another team.
"He'll be active for the games," Heckert said in a conference call Sunday night. "I don't know how much he'll play, but he showed a lot in the preseason."
Smith broke off one of the biggest plays of the preseason with an 81-yard run against the Lions, but fumbled away the ball twice."Obviously, we don't want him fumbling," Heckert said. "He didn't do that in college."
Heckert said that Brandon Jackson was going to be out a while, thus the decision to put him on injured reserve was made. He said Jackson will not need surgery to repair his toe, but there wasn't a definite timetable on how long he'd be out.
"We were thinking long-term with him and didn't want to force the issue with him," Heckert said. "We have him locked up for some time."
The Browns claimed quarterback Thaddeus Lewis from the Rams, linebacker Quinton Spears from the Dolphins and defensive lineman Emmanuel Stephens from the Falcons. All three were undrafted free agent rookies, who were on practice squads in 2010. Lewis (6-2, 200) played at Duke, Spears (6-4, 234) played at Prairie View A & M, while Stephens (6-3, 255) played at Mississippi.
To make room for the three, the Browns released Auston English, Benjamin Jacobs and Derreck Robinson.
Heckert sounded as though the Browns would bring in another player or two. When asked about Jason Pinkston starting at left guard, Heckert said,
"I don't know if we're done (with the roster), but we really like Pinkston a lot," he said. "We're not saying we won't add anybody." Prior to the roster cut down time, the Redskins talked about trying to trade guard Artis Hicks to the Browns. He was released and might be one of the players the Browns might bring in.
Veteran John Greco could be moved to left guard if the Browns decide Pinkston isn't ready. In the call with Heckert, he also talked about several other players.
Q: After releasing Jarrett Brown, it was assumed he would be developed on the practice squad, why did you claim quarterback Thaddeus Lewis?
Heckert: "We probably weren't going to (sign a third quarterback), but when (Lewis) became available, we really liked him. It was the mere fact that we really like this kid. We were going to go with two (QB's). We talked about him last year when he was on the Rams' practice squad. We loved him in the draft."
Q; What did you like about linebacker Quinton Spears?
Heckert: "He's a guy who came from a small program. He's 6-5, 240 who can run and rush the passer. He was very productive in the preseason."
Heckert: "One of the reasons we claimed (Spears), was thinking of Titus. We think Chris and Titus will be back soon, but without them we're a little thin (at linebacker). We think Chris is coming along and it's just a matter of time. We're hoping he'll be back (for Cincinnati)."
Q: What about keeping Carlton Mitchell with the finger injury?:
Heckert: "He was having a good training camp before the injury and we were willing to take a chance on him. When he was out there, he did well. It's a little bit of a guessing game."
Q: How close is Eric Hagg to being back?: Heckert: "We think he'll be back fairly soon. He didn't have a major injury."