Running Back to Cleveland?

The OBR learned early last evening that RB Jamal Lewis is visiting Cleveland. This one actually got into the corporate mainstream media pretty quick, so here is our story from last night...

Aaron Wilson of Ravens Insider reports this evening that former NFL Offensive Player of the Year Jamal Lewis is no longer confident that he will re-sign with Baltimore, and plans to visit the Cleveland Browns. Ironically, it was the Browns whom Lewis gained an NFL record 295 yards against in a September 2003 game.

The Ravens, likewise, are making plans to move forward without Lewis and had running back Dominic Rhodes in for a visit Tuesday and will host Chris Brown on Wednesday. The Ravens have also had discussions with the Buffalo Bills concerning Willis McGahee, who is clearly on the trading block. The Ravens have also spoken to the agent for New England Patriots running back Corey Dillon.

The Browns have also expressed interest in ex-Titans running back Chris Brown, news reported on Adam Caplan's free agency blog earlier this evening.

Cleveland's running attack suffered in 2006, partially due to poor performance from the team's offensive line and a sub-par year for feature back Reuben Droughns. Droughns, who struggled with off-the-field issues during the previous season and off-season, seemed more tentative last year, and failed to come close to the 1,200 yard seasons he put together in 2004 and 2005.

If Lewis or Brown are signed, it doesn't necessarily rule out retaining Droughns or drafting Adrian Peterson this April. The Browns have talked to the press several times about their perception that there is value in carrying "two big backs" on their roster. The team might also conceivably consider shifting Droughns back to the Fullback role he had in Denver prior to 2004.

The Browns also extended the contract of RB Jason Wright through the 2008 season several weeks ago.

More on this story as it develops...

Aaron Wilson of contributed to this report

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