The Cleveland Browns will have to finish the year down one running back.
Hilliard played in 14 games for the Browns this season, rushing 13 times for 49 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also returned 17 kickoffs for 421 yards and 15 punts for 107 yards.
During the first half of the season with Kareem Hunt suspended, Hilliard took on a bigger role with the team after the trade of Duke Johnson Jr.
“When Freddie [Kitchens] asked me to join him, he had high praises for Dontrell,” Browns running back coach Stump Mitchell said. “He’s got to believe that he belongs and we expect him to come out every day and make plays. I think what he has to understand is that he has to believe in himself as much as we believe in him. Now, he’s getting an opportunity. This is huge for him, and he’s having one heck of a spring training camp.”
Browns starting running back Nick Chubb leads the league in rushing with 1,453 yards. Hunt has provided a nice spark behind Chubb, catching 34 balls and scoring three total touchdowns.
Browns Sign Offensive Lineman Colby Gossett From Practice Squad
In an ensuing move, the Browns promoted offensive guard Colby Gossett from the practice squad. The Appalachian State product is officially a first-year player.
He was originally a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2018 NFL Draft and was signed to the Browns’ practice squad in Week 2 of this season. He appeared in five games — four starts — for the Arizona Cardinals last year.
The Browns offensive line has seen multiple combinations this season in an effort to find better protection for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“We were on those guys in the run game as far as maintaining blocks and things like that down the field,” Kitchens said after the Browns victory over the Bengals on Dec. 8. “Did an excellent job on a critical screen pass that we had late in the game on 3rd and 10. Did an excellent job down the field. Just overall, I think those guys played one of their best games across the board.”
Browns Resign DT Brandin Bryant
The Browns resigned defensive tackle Brandin Bryant a week after cutting him and promoting defensive end Robert McCray from the practice squad.
Bryant recorded two tackles in four games this season. He played in 10 snaps last week against the Cardinals. He played his college football at Florida Atlantic and has previously spent time on the practice squads of the Seahawks and Jets. He has also played in the CFL.
McCray is a first-year player out of Indiana. Originally signed by Kansas City in 2018, he spent time on the Chiefs’ practice squad last year and spent the past three weeks on the Browns’ practice squad.
The Browns have made a series of moves trying to beef up their defensive line in the absence of Pro Bowlers Myles Garrett (suspended) and Olivier Vernon (knee).