The 2014 NFL offseason is officially in full swing, and the Cleveland Browns figure to once again be extremely busy in both free agency in the draft. This year, one of the team’s top needs is at the running back position, and that got me thinking, with all the running backs that team has ever drafted, who could possibly be the worst?
Well after some thought, I think I’ve finally come up with who I believe to be the most acceptable candidate. The winner in my mind is former Browns regret William Green.
Back at the front-end of the century, Green was a stud running back in the old Big East, racking up huge numbers in two seasons as the back for the Boston College Eagles.
During the two years in which he started as the Eagles’ tailback, he racked up an absurd 2,700 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. He was a two-time first team All-Big East performer and in 2001 was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year.
Due to these monster stats, Green entered the 2002 NFL Draft with a ton of hype behind him, and the Browns, despite his college suspensions due to marijuana possession, took him with the 16th overall pick.
What a terrible mistake.
Now I understand that sometimes risks have to be taken on talented players with sketchy pasts, but you’d think the team would do a better job of managing a guy who got suspended two freaking times in college due to drugs.
But, in total Browns fashion, the squad did the exact opposite, successfully driving Green’s career into the ground.
Now he did have a pretty decent first season, as he stayed healthy and gained 887 yards and six touchdowns. After that year, it was all downhill from there. Green struggled with drug use that cut his next season short, and his career would never be the same.
In total, Green’s off the field track record would outweigh any on-field success. During his four-year career, unfortunately all with the Browns, Green racked up 2,109 yards and 9 touchdowns on the field. Off the field, he picked up a DUI arrest, an arrest for marijuana possession, a child with someone that wasn’t his wife, and a stab wound from his fiancée during a domestic dispute that ended his season in 2005 (Little did she know how huge of a favor she was doing the franchise).
2005 was the final straw for Green who, get this, ran for 78 YARDS in the eight games. Not one single game, but eight freaking games. Due to this less than stellar play, the team put him on the injured reserve for the rest of the season (most likely with a fake injury that the team used to explain his inability to actually play the game of football). After the 2005 season, the Browns finally realized that Green was yet another failed experiment, and thus finally released the ineffective back.
After being cut, Green did what any athlete with a miserably failed dream would do: attempt a comeback.
This comeback attempt occurred in 2008 when Green worked out, and got outperformed, at Boston College’s pro day. He was said to be in “great shape” at the time, but ran a blazing 4.82 40-yard dash to officially finish off whatever was left of his dying dream.
Now, 2014 marks another year where running back is a position that the Browns need to fill. Out of the top-five running backs available in the draft, two (Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill) have had some type off the field issues. I’m not saying that it will lead exactly to the same out-of-control career that Green experienced, but it’s definitely something worth noting when deciding who to choose to fill that hole, in order to prevent another player like him to step foot in Cleveland, Ohio ever again.
Haven’t gotten enough running back talk? Check out Kevin Gillikin’s Top 3 RB free agents in 2014!