In 2014, the Cleveland Browns dealt with a number of problems, but running back was one of the biggest. They had a running back carousel that saw them go through a handful of backs, with one never standing out above the others. Now, there is the possibility they could sign former Baltimore Ravens’ back Ray Rice, but they’ve got to beat the Dallas Cowboys to the punch.
Sports Illustrated has reported that Browns head coach Mike Pettine has confirmed that discussions have been had about signing Ray Rice. With second-year players Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell on the squad, along with third-round rookie Duke Johnson, a veteran back may be needed.
“We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we’re there at this point.”
Now, that is when the specific question of that “veteran” being Ray Rice came up, and Pettine spoke on that possibility, as well.
“Of course it’s a natural question here because of [Browns running back coach] Wilbert [Montgomery], and because I was with Ray when he was a Ravens’ rookie (2008) and know a lot of people in Baltimore. Obviously, Wilbert was his position coach for Ray’s first six years in the league (08-13). I’m not going to say it didn’t come up in discussion, but at this point, we’re not there yet.”
Last season, the Browns seemed to have something going in the running game with Ben Tate, but then an injury forced him out for a few games. Upon his return, Crowell and West had moved in, and Tate never really got another chance.
The Browns aren’t the only NFL team looking at Rice, but there has not been a lot of interest in him so far. The Arizona Cardinals could take a look at him, but the Dallas Cowboys may really need to look for a veteran running back soon.
For Thursday night’s preseason opener, the Dallas Cowboys will be starting undrafted rookie Gus Johnson at running back. Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Landce Dunbar are all out with injuries, but they aren’t thought to be serious.
Dallas has not confirmed bringing in or signing Rice, but the possibility is certainly there.
Ray Rice is likely to end up on an NFL team at some point this season, and that’s mostly due to injuries. It could be the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, or another team not even mentioned so far. Still, he’s got a long way to go, and the 28-year-old back hopes someone takes a chance on him.
[Image via Getty Images]