Suggs Explodes Against Bills

On a day when the Browns showed that they have a ways to go to fit Butch Davis' vision, running back Lee Suggs showed that he was ready to go. The Browns running back was explosive on Saturday in Rochester, getting a step on the race to start at running back for the Browns.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Lee Suggs' breakaway jaunt against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday sparked memories of his 186-yard, two-touchdown effort against Cincinnati in Cleveland's 2003 finale.

Suggs, who had runs of 78 and 25 yards against the Bengals last year, took off for a 50-yard run on the third play of Saturday's scrimmage against the Bills at St. John Fisher College. The only difference between Suggs' most recent big play and the ones he had last year was this time he didn't score.

"If it was the Cincy game I would've scored," he said. "I ran out of gas. I've got camp legs right now. By the time Baltimore rolls around on Sept. 12 ... it's gonna' get better each week."

Suggs began Saturday's run by pulling the Buffalo defense right, then shifted direction and took off down the right sideline. It appeared he might score once he broke free from the Buffalo defense, but safety Izell Reese caught up and eventually pushed him out of bounds.

"The defensive was way over-pursuing on the play," Suggs said. "We watched film after Friday's practice and the coaches said (the cutback) might be there."

Suggs later had a 19-yard scamper and finished the day with four carries for 80 yards in the open field. He also scored once during goal-line drills.

Overshadowed by Suggs' performance was William Green, who is his chief competition at tailback. Green gained six yards on five carries on Saturday, but had a 60-yard run during Friday morning's practice against the Bills' defense.

"I thought they both ran hard and did a good job," Cleveland coach Butch Davis said.

Green also found the end zone during goal-line drills, but like his teammates, couldn't score after a sustained drive. He entered the scrimmage after Suggs' 50-yarder and was stuffed on his first two plays, losing four yards on two carries.

On Cleveland's third play inside the red zone, quarterback Jeff Garcia's pass was deflected by a defensive lineman and intercepted by Reese.

"I busted one (on Friday), and he had one today," Green said. "I felt that every time I had the ball, I made the most of what I had."

There is still plenty of time left in the competition to be the Browns' starting tailback, but Suggs appeared to tighten his grip on the No. 1 job. One thing was clear — when his teammates saw Suggs sprinting down the sideline, they had plenty of reasons to get excited.

"I saw (No.) 44 running the ball and I started to get chill bumps," Cleveland defensive end Kenard Lang said. "I'm real happy that we might all gel together and have a good year."

Suggs' lone claim to fame last season was his huge day against Cincinnati. He played in just seven games as a rookie last year, missing the first nine games while nursing an injured shoulder back to health.

Some have suggested the reason Davis put Suggs in the No. 1 slot to begin camp was simply to motivate Green, but Suggs is proving his emergence is not a trick.

"Every time I touch the ball I try to make a statement," Suggs said.

Green and the Bills' defense heard Suggs' statement loud and clear on Saturday.

The OBR Top Stories