Browns HC Mike Pettine told reporters on Sunday that they will meet and discuss the possibility of signing a running back following the injuries to rookie Duke Johnson and Shaun Draughn
“We’ll wait and see how long Duke is potentially out,” said Pettine, via Mark Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’ll have a whole series of meetings this afternoon. We’ll start with the defense first and when we get to the offense, I’ll bet the running back will likely be one of the first topics discussed.
“We’ll see where the conversation takes us,” Pettine added. “I think we need the medical report first, kind of see where Shaun is, make sure the other guys came out of it okay, get an update on Duke and weigh all of those factors. Getting Shaun back certainly helps.”
In regards to possibly signing former Ravens RB Ray Rice, Pettine said: “If we do come to the decision that we need to add a back that is not here, we’ll look at the list of backs that are available.”
“We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we’re there at this point,” Pettine said of giving Rice a second opportunity in the NFL.
However, there hasn’t been any reported updates in the past few weeks regarding the idea.
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes that if the Browns don’t sign Rice to a contract to bolster their running back depth, then it’s unlikely an NFL team will ever give Rice another shot in league.
Rice has ties to the Browns’ coaching and Pettine, so they’re plenty familiar with him as a player.
“Of course it’s a natural question here because of [Browns running backs coach] Wilbert [Montgomery], and because I was with Ray when he was a Ravens rookie (in 2008) and know a lot of people in Baltimore,” Pettine said previously. “Obviously Wilbert was his position coach for Ray’s first six years in the league (2008–13). I’m not going to say it didn’t come up in discussion, but at this point we’re not there yet.”
Rice, 28, last appeared in an NFL game back in 2013 when he ran for 660 yards on 214 carries (3.1 YPC) to go along with 58 receptions for 321 yards receiving and four total touchdowns.
It’s worth mentioning that Rice dealt with a hip injury that year, which could explain his dip in production. However, Pro Football Focus still had him rated as the worst qualifying running back in the league that year.
We’ll have more regarding Rice possibly returning to the NFL as the news is available.