BEREA, Ohio -- Last season, the Cleveland Browns were wondering some weeks whether they would have a running back healthy enough to last an entire game. Now, as the team begins its mandatory minicamp, there is a line waiting to get reps.
The Browns have depth in the backfield after drafting Trent Richardson in the first round and getting back Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson from injuries. The key is keeping those backups healthy.
Hardesty, who should be the primary backup to Richardson, has to prove he can stay on the field. His medical history includes a torn ACL in his left knee in 2010 and a torn right calf muscle last season. Jackson, who should find his niche as the third-down back, is back after missing all of last season with a toe injury.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Hardesty and Jackson haven't shown any residual effects from last year's injuries.
"I think they look good," Shurmur said Tuesday. "Knock on wood, I think that group is healthy and running around fast. You can see there is some carryover in learning from a year ago. Trent’s doing a good job of picking things up. They look fast. They’re getting their reps. And because the lines are a little bit longer, they look crisp in the reps that they’re in there for."
Shurmur said Richardson, Hardesty and Jackson will all play this season. "I’m not concerned with them getting their reps," he said.