The Cleveland Browns are parting ways with second-year running back Tre Harbison, who spent last season on the practice squad.
The Browns waived Haribson with a non-football injury designation, meaning he likely injured himself away from the team and it was significant enough that he wouldn’t be ready for camp.
Harbison doesn’t have an NFL carry to his name but was a workhorse in college while at Northern Illinois. He toted the ball almost 500 times for 2,345 yards and 16 touchdowns during a three-year career.
The Browns have one of the deepest running back rooms in the league with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson, John Kelly and rookie Jerome Ford. It would have been hard to see Harbison getting past cuts with the Browns having so much to work with at running back.
Browns Have Decision to Make With D’Ernest Johnson
The Browns have three starting-caliber running backs Hunt, Chubb and Johnson, and might have to make a decision before the season begins. Johnson was a restricted free agent and the Browns — who hold exclusive negotiating rights with Johnson — tendered an offer to him worth $2.4 million. Johnson has yet to sign that tender but did show up to voluntary workouts this month.
Johnson capitalized on his opportunities when injuries struck last season, notching 534 yards on 100 carries with three touchdowns. He also collected 19 receptions for 137 yards.
“I would not touch on any individual contract situation,” Browns GM Andrew Berry told reporters on April 30. “We still think very highly of D’Ernest. We would anticipate him being here moving forward, but we will see.”
Johnson could be looking for a trade that would be good for both him and the team since if both Hunt and Chubb are healthy, he probably won’t get a ton of run and could help an RB-needy team.
Browns Add Strong Runner in Jerome Ford
The Browns added Ford in the draft, snatching him in the fifth round. He was a one-year starter with Cincinnati but made an impact, rushing 214 times for 1,319 yards and 19 touchdowns. Ford is excited to learn from Chubb and Hunt — two of the best in the game.
“When I first heard that I was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, just the opportunity to be able to learn behind two great running backs and spend some time getting to learn pretty much everything that I can and soak up everything I can from those guys because they are pretty much doing what they are supposed to do in the league,” Ford said after being selected. “They are big names in the league. I would want to one day have my name up there with theirs. I am looking forward to it.”
Browns area scout Max Paulus said the addition of Ford did not necessarily mean an immediate shakeup was coming to the running back room, although the Browns have to think ahead with Johnson’s future uncertain and Hunt entering the final year of his contract.
“We are very happy with our running back room as it currently stands, but no different than any other position, we are always going to be looking to add competition,” Paulus said. “I think Jerome is going to do that. Jerome is a fast and explosive runner. We are always going to be looking to add playmakers and give Stefanski pieces to play with on offense so that is why we chose Jerome here.”