BEREA – It took the Browns 20 years to get a 1,000 yard rusher. Now they have one.
It's also been 20 years since the Browns had a tight end catch 40 passes.
However, don't look now but that is about to change as well.
Steve Heiden is having the best season of his career and the best statistical season of any Browns tight end in two decades.
Heiden has 39 receptions for 380 yards (9.7 avg.), including three touchdowns. Those are the highest numbers at the tight end position since Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome caught 39 passes for 417 yards in 1986.
"It all comes down to opportunities," Heiden said. "I've been fortunate to have the opportunities to get the ball."
Heiden's best season prior to this season was in 2004 when he caught 28 passes for 287 yards, including five touchdowns. Coming into this season, he had 77 career receptions for 613 yards, including eight touchdowns in his first six years in the NFL.
In addition, 20 of Heiden's receptions have been good for a first down, including all three receptions last Sunday at Cincinnati.
Not a bad pickup for the Browns who acquired Heiden just prior to the 2002 season for a seventh-round draft choice.
"It shows the coaches and quarterbacks have confidence in me," Heiden said. "That makes you feel good to make plays when the team needs them."
Heiden has had more opportunities, primarily because of injuries to Aaron Shea and Kellen Winslow at the position, but he has made the most of his chances.
"Statistically, it's been my most productive season," Heiden said. "However, it comes back to opportunities and making the most of them."
Injury Update: Crennel said although there are many players listed on the injury report, he expects most to play. CB Leigh Bodden (concussion), OL Cosey Coleman (knee), RB Reuben Droughns (knee), QB Charlie Frye (knee), TE Steve Heiden (ankle), CB Ray Mickens (groin), DL Orpheus Roye (knee), TE Aaron Shea (calf) and CB Michael.Lehan (leg). Lehan didn't play last week, but might play this week. Frye, Heiden, Shea and Lehan will be limited in practice on Wednesday.
Crennel listed Frye as more probable, than questionable.
"Frye banged up his knee and we'll see how he does," Crennel said. "I would say he is questionable-plus-- more probable."