Other than pulling up on a run late in practice, day one of William Green's NFL career went well.
Green suffered tightness in his right calf after sprinting through a hole, but it was nothing to worry about. Browns coach Butch Davis didn't seem concerned about the minor injury, especially after watching what Green did throughout the first practice of a three-day mini camp.
"You could see the explosion through the line of scrimmage on the inside running drill we had early in practice," Davis said of Green's showing. "That part of it was very good."
Davis hopes that Green can add plenty of spark to a running attack that was last in the NFL last season. Green's addition behind a revamped offensive line is expected to reduce the pressure on quarterback Tim Couch to shoulder the burden.
Green is accepting the challenge in a businesslike way. He didn't walk into the locker room after Friday's practice with a cocky attitude, but there was still a sense of confidence behind his ever-present smile.
In the final analysis, Green wasn't drafted to learn behind James Jackson. Jamel White, who signed a one-year contract on Friday, is being counted on as a third-down back, while J.J. Johnson, acquired in a trade with Miami, will be tested at fullback. The Ben Gay experiment came to an end when he was waived this week.
The running back job is Green's to lose.
"I can't say that (it's a perfect situation)," Green said. "All I can do is go out and work hard and contribute to the team as much as I can. I can't speak for anything (that happened in the past)."
Shortly after the Browns selected Green with the 16th overall pick in the draft last Saturday, Davis compared his newest running back to Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. Both have a low center of gravity and hit the hole quickly. Green, who weighs 222 pounds, is bigger and perhaps more capable than is Smith to run with power.
If Green comes close to duplicating Smith's great career, it would make Davis' job much easier.
"That's a great compliment," Green said. "He will be the all-time leading rusher. It's a good feeling (to be compared to him). It's something I will work hard for, and it won't be forgotten."
Before Green can begin thinking about emulating Smith's career, he first most go about the learning process of being a pro. Much of what takes place at the mini camp this weekend and the one scheduled for the second week of June is geared towards the playbook.
Green is receiving his first taste of the classroom side of NFL life this weekend. He's found it a bit more challenging than what he had to deal with at Boston College.
"The playbook here is about 10 times the size of the one in college," Green said. "I have a good coach here in T Mac (running backs coach Todd McNair). He's working with me on it, and I'm sure the other running backs here will work with me on it. I feel confident that I'll get everything done."
Much was made about the two games Green missed in college because of rules violations. Granted, he's been with the Browns only one week, but he doesn't come across as a problem player.
If anything, Green has exhibited a humble side as he's taken baby steps in his next level of football.
"I have to get used to it (being a rookie)," Green said. "You get dropped down to the bottom of the totem pole, but it's a good feeling."
Don't expect Green to be on the bottom of the pole for too long.