If the regular season started tomorrow, would you feel comfortable with the current Cleveland Browns backup running backs, Chris Ogbonnaya, Dion Lewis, and Montario Hardesty? Wouldn’t that be the same options the Browns went into with during last season? One surprising name that is still out there in the world of free agency is Michael Turner. Can you imagine a Turner and Trent Richardson two headed monster backfield?
It may not be as far out of the realm of possibility as one may think either. As a fifth round draft pick, Turner got his start with San Diego Chargers, who were coached by who? You guessed it, new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Browns aren’t looking for a feature running back, they are looking for someone to spell a most likely heavily used Richardson. At 31 years old Turner isn’t that far-fetched either.
The questions that would come to mind would be; does Turner have anything left in those beastly running legs and at what cost would he come to don the orange helmet? Turner himself believes he still has it, saying in a recent Facebook post, “I’m excited to begin a new chapter of my career and truly believe I have a lot left in the tank.” What that new chapter is remains to be seen.
We are talking about a guy that rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. According to NFL Network and a survey of current NFL players, we are talking about a guy that was ranked 88th of the top 100 players for 2012.
In 2007, Cleveland signed a supposedly washed up Jamal Lewis to be their feature back. That year, he ran for over 1,300 yards and the following year rushed for another 1,008 yards. Lewis was a couple years younger than Turner is now, but both players had serious mileage on them.
During ten years in the NFL, Turner has rushed 7,338 yards and 66 touchdowns. However, almost half of those years were part time work. It wasn’t until 2008, Turner took on full time duties as a starting running back with the Atlanta Falcons. Turner would be a simple confident back-up for the Browns. The ten year veteran’s career could come full circle as far as duties.
Maybe I’m crazy and he wants a ridiculous amount of money, but the bottom line is even at his age, Turner is a better compliment to Richardson than Ogbonnaya, Lewis, or Hardesty. It’s risky moves like this that become the difference in making the playoffs or not. It would be one heck of a move if it happened.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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