Exclusive: Rings About the Running Back

It has been assumed for a while that the Cleveland Browns might deal a running back during this pre-season. Then again, there is that situation in Colorado to worry about. There has been little heard about actually IS happening behind the scenes, however. John Taylor starts to put an end to that today, exclusively on the OBR...

In this morning's edition of the Dayton Daily News, the following quote was attributed to running back Lee Suggs, who spoke on being relegated to third on the depth chart:

"I'm out to prove them wrong. I hope I stay here, but if not, maybe there will be an opportunity somewhere else."

Interestingly enough, that "opportunity somewhere else" was a possibility in recent weeks, and very well could have been with a club located in the AFC West.

According to a league source, the Chiefs made inquiries regarding the availability of Suggs before ultimately acquiring Michael Bennett in a trade with the Saints earlier this week.

Due to the uncertain future of Priest Holmes, who has yet to return from a neck injury suffered in October of last year, Kansas City has been searching for a backup to Pro Bowler Larry Johnson. Holmes' dicey and iffy situation—he is reportedly considering retirement—led them to investigate several backs, including Suggs.

"(The Chiefs) put out quite a few feelers involving quite a few backs, and Suggs was one of them. I wouldn't label (the interest on the part of the Chiefs) as `serious', but it was there," the source said.

"(Suggs) could have fit in well here. He's got the hands to catch the ball out of the backfield, which is necessary for a back in this offense…. There was an interest (in obtaining Suggs), but, even with all his talent, though, you look at all of the injuries he's been through and think `can the guy be counted on? Can he play more than half a season (without an injury)?'"

Suggs has missed in excess of 20 games in the past three seasons due to a variety of injuries, including a broken thumb last year. Bennett, though, has not exactly been the picture of health, either, as he missed a combined 13 games in 2003 and 2004 due to injury.

"Yeah, but does Suggs have a Pro Bowl, a 1,000-yard season and two complete seasons played on his resume'?" the source asked, with the latter referring to the RB playing in 16 games in 2002 and 2005.

While there was some interest on the part of the Chiefs in Suggs, was there any interest from the Browns in parting with the 2003 fourth-round pick? A team source contacted by The OBR refused to comment, even off the record, regarding any specific interest the Chiefs may or may not have had in Suggs.

However, the source did shed some light on the rumors of Suggs and/or Green being on the trading block.

"Calls come in, and have been coming in, on a pretty consistent basis about not only Lee, but Willie (Green) as well," the source said. "I'm not gonna say that either of them will be traded or either of them won't be. I'll just say that I wouldn't be the least bit shocked or surprised if the depth chart looks different on September 10 than it does at this moment."

Currently, Green sits behind starter Rueben Droughns on the depth chart, with Suggs and rookie Jerome Harrison fighting it out for the role of third-down back.

The first-year back out of Washington State could be the wildcard in whether there is or isn't a trade in the near future involving Green or Suggs, the source hinted.

"If Harrison continues to improve at the rate he has been since the start of camp, you just never know."


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