Fullback Terrelle Smith has lost 22 pounds and plans to lose eight more before the season begins in September if he does not lose it by the start of training camp next month.
"I want to lighten my load," Smith said. "I'm going to be used more down by the goal line this year. I'm proud of that. If opportunity knocks, I'm going to open the door and say hello. If they give me an inch, I'm going to take a mile."
Smith wants to play at 235 pounds, which he says is close to his rookie weight. Enjoying what he admits is a pizza and beer diet in the offseason while at home in New Orleans, he weighed close to 260 last season. He hopes the trimmer, slimmer Smith will make him quicker without losing any effectiveness when he blocks a linebacker.
One of the mysteries of last season was why Smith was not used more in short-yardage situations, especially behind an ineffective offensive line. As often as not, Smith was on the sideline when the Browns were inside the 10, which really was not very often. That is expected to change under first-year offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon.
The Browns had 41 possessions inside the 10 in 2004, or about 2.5 possessions a game. Only the Raiders and Ravens with 40 each had fewer in the AFC. The Browns were tied for 14th in the conference with 19 touchdowns from inside the 10 and they ranked 31st overall in third-down efficiency, a statistic that includes all third-down plays regardless of field position.
"As long as they give me the opportunity to be on the field, I'm going to be the best player I can possibly be," Smith said. "This is a show-me business.
"The offensive coordinator is a former fullback with the New York Giants, and he won two Super Bowls. However he did it I guess is how I'm going to do it."
It also helps that the running backs coach is Dave Atkins. Atkins was the Saints running backs coach from 2000-2004. Smith was a Saints fullback from 2000-2003 while blocking for Ricky Williams and Deuce McAllister.