BROWNS Green trying to grow up
The running back has had his ups and downs, but now is ready to play.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
BEREA -- William Green sums up his time with the Browns this way: "I don't think I've proven anything yet."
Not to quibble, but Green proved in his rookie season that he had ability.
He proved in his second year that he still had his demons.
And he proved in his third year he needed more polish to show he was worthy of the first-round draft selection used on him in 2002.
Now he's trying to prove he's grown up.
"I want to be a Brown," Green said. "It's the team that drafted me. The fans have been in my corner; they still support me. I've been through a lot of ups and downs here. The bottom line is I'm not a quitter, I'm a fighter.
"I want to keep going and I want show the people and the fans that I'm here and no matter what happens I'm going to keep fighting. I appreciate all their support and I'm just trying to be the best I can be for them and the team."
Never sought trade
In the off-season, the Browns gave Green permission to seek a trade. He never actively sought one.
"I definitely wanted to make it work here the whole time," he said. "We had some misunderstandings, but I'm here and I'm happy they have me back here and I'm looking forward to being a Brown.
"Like I said, I feel like I owe it to the fans to be good and be productive."
Green's years in Cleveland have been well-chronicled. The local media named him the team's player of the year as a rookie when his running carried the Browns to the playoffs. His second season disintegrated in off-field struggles and a league suspension. Last year, Green averaged 8.3 yards per carry in the preseason, but gained just 585 yards in 13 starts.
Coach Romeo Crennel said from watching film it sometimes appeared that Green gave up too quickly on a play and ran where the blocking was not designed for him to run. Green acknowledged that might have happened, but said he's past last year.
Feels more comfortable
"This is a new year," he said. "I'm pushing forward and I feel better and more comfortable than I've ever felt since I've been in the league."
Things changed for Green in the off-season after the trade did not work out. He and Crennel sat down, and Crennel laid out his expectations. Green had to overcome some of the preconceptions the new staff and management had about him.
"They knew of the things they had heard about," Green said. "You get a reputation and that was my rep," Green said. "I went to coach Crennel and he gave me an honest-to-God chance. We had a sit-down talk and he said, 'I'm going to give you a chance.' And I appreciate the fact that he took me for who I was and not who he heard I was."
Green took a step toward earning a spot on the team in the first preseason game. On a pretty dismal night, his play stood out -- to the point that Crennel said if he learned anything about his backs, it was that he could have more confidence in Green.
Green's 44 yards rushing came against New York Giants backups, and there is a long way to go. Too, Green is in some serious competition with Lee Suggs and Reuben Droughns. But it was a step.
Getting good push
Green also said Crennel is pushing him "like I've never been pushed before."
Same with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, who Green said does not tolerate mistakes. To ensure himself a spot on the team, Green has even volunteered to play special teams.
"There's more of a sense of urgency," he said.
"You get it done or you're out of there. That's what I need."