McGahee to the Rescue?

OBR Senior Browns Reporter
Posted Sep 20, 2013


Willis McGahee is ready to prove himself as the member of the Cleveland Browns after not playing since last November.

 

BEREA, Ohio--With all the talk about the trade of Trent Richardson, the Browns need someone to come to their rescue.

Here comes Willis McGahee riding in on a white horse.

The Browns are counting on McGahee to quell the fallout about trading the team's perceived focal point of the offense.

"All I can do is go out and play the way I know how to play," McGahee said. "It's a fresh start, a new beginning. It's a young team and we have work to do."

McGahee thinks he can help right away.

"I'm going to do whatever it takes (to play)," he said. "I've been in this game 10 years and there's (nothing new)."

Not too many teams include that they are bringing in a player for a physical in a press release when announcing a major trade, but that's exactly what the Browns did when they announced Wednesday night that they were trading Richardson to the Colts for a number one draft choice in 2014. Anticipating there could be major repercussions from a public relations standpoint, the Browns announced they were bringing McGahee in to give him a physical in the release.

McGahee said he was actually called by his agent before the Browns had traded Richardson. He said he first thought he was going to be a teammate of Richardson's, not his replacement.

"Honestly, when I got the call I thought I was going to be working with Trent Richardson."

McGahee was officially signed to a one-year contract on Thursday after passing his physical. He practiced with the team on Friday and it's unsure if he will play against the Vikings on Sunday. During the portion of practice open to the media, McGahee was running routes and catching passes, looking to be in pretty good shape.

Rob Chudzinski was asked if he will play against the Vikings.

"He's been in this offense," Chudzinski said. "He's got a handle on it and we'll talk as a staff and see where he is from a physical standpoint.

"In this case, Willis is a guy who's done it before," he said. "Running the ball is instinctive."

McGahee said he was confident he would get a another chance, but admitted he was getting antsy.

"I never doubted getting a call," he said. "My agent told me running backs are going to get hurt, just be ready."

McGahee said the key to his longevity has been what he's made of. He had a devastating knee injury against Ohio State in the National Championship game after the 2002 season and many wondered if he'd ever play again.

"It all starts in your heart," he said. "If you think you can do it, you can do it. Who thought I was going to play 10 years? Everybody thought I wasn't going to play at all. I just kept surprising everyone.

"I'm used to proving myself."

However, having not played since last November, it is unclear if McGahee's in football shape.

"I'm (familiar) with the system," he said. "I just have to get back into the language."

McGahee (6-0, 235) is in his 10th season. He has rushed for 8,097 yards on 1,957 attempts with an average per carry of 4.1. He has scored 63 and has added 202 receptions for 1,319 yards with five touchdowns. His rushing totals are the fourth most among all active players. McGahee has four 1,000-yard rushing seasons to his credit and joins Ricky Watters as the only two players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season with three teams. McGahee had 1,000 yard season with the Bills in 2004-05, Ravens in 2007 and Broncos in 2011.

McGahee will turn 32 in October. Chudzinski knows McGahee well as he was an assistant coach at Miami (Fla.) when McGahee played for the Hurricanes.

"He's a great coach," he said. "He will make the right moves."

Originally a first-round pick (23rd overall) by Buffalo in the 2003 NFL Draft, McGahee was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2007 and 2011 seasons. He appeared in 10 games last season with the Broncos and finished as the team’s leading rusher with 731 yards. He was placed on injured reserve with a MCL knee injury on Nov. 21 and was released by the Broncos this summer.

"I'm good," he said. "I had one knee problem and that was the right knee. It's healed and is 100 percent. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have passed the physical."

McGahee, who will wear No. 26, is the oldest player on the roster, with the exception of kicker Billy Cundiff, who is 33. McGahee said he was informed that by Chris Ogbonnays.

"Obie told me I'm the oldest guy in the locker room," he said. "I think the name he used was 'Methusalah' in reference to the oldest human being named in the Bible.

EXTRA POINTS

Weeden's Thumb: QB Brandon Weeden met with a hand specialist on Thursday and Chudzinski said "surgery was highly unlikely". He didn't give a timetable on his return, but some reports said he could be back as early as next week.

Chudzinski said he will see how Weeden is before determining if he will regain his starting job, but he did say he'd like to see more of Weeden.

"We'll just take it week by week," he said "I'd love to see more of him."

Weeden was on the stationary bike during practice.

Chudzinski said he talked with Weeden.

"I've talked with him," he said.

Weeden and LB Quentin Groves (ankle) have both been ruled out for Sunday's game with the Vikings.

Chudzinski said he's confident that QB Brian Hoyer is ready to go.

"He had a great week of practice," Chudzinski said.

Rubin, Lavao Update: DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) practiced on Friday and their status for the game is that Rubin is questionable and Lauvao is listed as doubtful.

Chud on Holmgren's Comments: Chudzinski was asked about his thoughts on former Browns president Mike Holmgren saying on a Seattle radio station that if he were the coach of the Browns and Richardson was traded, he would quit or asked to be fired.

"I love Cleveland. I love these fans. I love this team," he said. "I absolutely agree with our plan in what we've done to this point to bring a winner to Cleveland, but I'm focused on (Minnesota) and this alone."


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