Berea - According to Romeo Crennel, the backup running position is still wide open. Lee Suggs, William Green, Jason Wright and rookies Jerome Harrison and Chris Barclay are battling for spots behind Reuben Droughns.
Crennel said the situation is similar to last year, with the exception of Droughns who broke through with a 1,232 yard season in 2005.
"The backup job is open for competition," Crennel said. All of the running backs positions were open (at this time last year) and Reuben came to the top."
Even though Green is in his fifth season, and Suggs in his fourth, Crennel said they are still unproven commodities as far as he's concerned.
"Then those other guys were competing for the backup job," he said. "Each of them had some injury situations that took them off the field. Even though we supposedly know what we have, we don't know what we have because they didn't play that much."
Green played in just eight games last season and carried the ball just 20 times for 78 yards. His best season was in his rookie year in 2002 when he rushed for 887 yards and scored six touchdowns. Green had an ankle injury and missed four games.
"He runs hard," Crennel said of Green. "He gives good effort. He'll block and he looks good in practice."
Green was in a similar situation last preseason when most didn't give the former No. 1 draft choice to make the team, but a solid preseason saved his job.
Suggs also played in just eight games and carried the ball just eight times for 15 yards. His best season was 2004 when he rushed the ball 199 times for 744 yards with two touchdowns. He had an ankle injury in the preseason and a thumb injury during the season.
"I think you find out what you've got when you put a guy in the game and he plays and performs, then you know exactly what you have," Crennel said. "What we have, are two hard working guys in practice when they are healthy. In the games, we don't know exactly what we have in the games because they didn't get that many repetitions."
Harrison was drafted in the fifth-round to be in the mix to be the change of pace back on third downs. The former Washington State standout has been impressive in the early going and many think he will force the Browns to decide between Green or Suggs on who makes the team. Harrison rushed for 1,900 yards last season for Washington State.
Wright played last season and carried the ball 14 times for 37 yards, including a touchdown. Barclay, a rookie free agent, has been slowed with an ankle injury.
Leon Runs with First Team: Fourth-round draft choice Leon Williams practiced with the first team defense in the morning practice, as well as on Tuesday. Crennel was asked if anything should be read into that.
"Nothing," he said. "We are trying to see what he can do. Sometimes, a guy who is a backup is always playing with the threes or the twos. Sometimes, if you put him with the ones, a different guy emerges. We just do that to see how a guy reacts. Does he become a better player? Is he still as vocal as he is with other guys. We need to find those things out, so we mix things up a little bit."
Injury Update: RB Chris Barclay (ankle) did not practice and Crennel said his ankle is `ginger'. TE John Dunn missed practice with a calf strain. WR Joe Jurevicius (back) was back on the field and was limited in his participation. WR Braylon Edwards (knee) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee) were given the morning off.
Rehab Gang: Crennel said the four players who recently underwent surgery were all taking part in their rehabs today. C LeCharles Bentley (patella tendon), DB Demario Minter (knee), OT Ryan Tucker (knee) and CB Daylon McCutcheon (knee).