Cleveland Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski said Friday that newly signed running back Willis McGahee will play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The Browns traded former first-round draft pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday in a surprising move as Cleveland officials continue to rebuild the team, which will be without another top draft pick when quarterback Brandon Weedon misses the game because of a thumb injury.
The Browns have only two other running backs on their roster: Bobby Gainey and fullback Chris Ogbonnaya.
"Willis is an experienced guy,” Chudzinski told reporters Friday. "He’s done it before. He’s a savvy veteran. Running the ball is an instinctive thing. He’ll be ready to roll and we’re excited about that.
"We felt like he was the best guy available, certainly. Me knowing Willis and how tough he is from a mental standpoint, what he brings to the table, I have 100% faith in him."
McGahee has also played in an offensive system similar to what the Browns use, which gives Chudzinski confidence.
"Well he’s been in this offense, the terminology, he’s familiar with, when he was in Baltimore. So a lot of those things are the same," Chudzinski said. "Just doing a little review with him yesterday, he’s got a good handle on the offense overall. We’ll just have to see. We’ll talk about it when we get in as a staff in practice today and where he’s at from a physical standpoint and a conditioning standpoint. But he looked pretty good out in practice today."
McGahee has gained more than 8,000 yards in a nine-year career. He missed the last two months of the season after he injured his right knee last November when playing for the Denver Broncos, who waived him in June.
The 31-year-old from Miami says he's ready to play.
"I had one knee problem," McGahee said Friday. "It was my right knee and it’s healed 100%. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have passed the physical."
Weedon could be available as soon as next week. The third-year pro injured the thumb on his throwing hand when he struck the helmet of a teammate while following through on a pass last week. Brady Hoyer will start this week ahead of Jason Campbell.
"As soon as he's cleared we'll have to evaluate what status he is, whether he's 100% or 80 or 90,” Chudzinski said of Weedon. "We'll play it by ear as it goes."
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