The Browns have bolstered their thin running backs corps by claiming Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans, respectively, league sources confirmed today for the Beacon Journal.
The team also cut veteran backup Brandon Jackson, a league source confirmed. Pro Football Talk first reported Jackson's release.
The Browns have yet to announce the moves.
The Ravens cut Rainey on Saturday despite his stellar preseason performances, and the Baltimore Sun first reported today that the Browns picked him up. The Ravens have running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce and fullbacks Vonta Leach and Kyle Juszczyk, so there wasn’t much room for Rainey.
After missing most of his rookie season with a knee injury, the 5-foot-8, 212-pound Rainey finished this preseason with 23 carries for 89 yards (3.9 average) and two touchdowns to go along with three catches for 17 yards. Rainey, 25, entered the NFL last year as an undrafted free agent from Western Kentucky University.
ProFootballFocus.com gave Rainey the highest grade of all the recently cut running backs. He forced 11 missed tackles on 26 preseason touches, according to the website.
The Texans waived Johnson, 23, on Friday. The Browns claimed him today, a move first reported by CBS Sports.
The 5-7, 193-pound Johnson, an undrafted rookie from the University of Arkansas, finished the preseason with 33 carries for 129 yards (3.9 average) and a touchdown to go along with five catches for 31 yards. He also lost two fumbles.
The arrival of Rainey and Johnson forced Jackson out. After spending his first four NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers, he signed with the Browns in 2011 but sat out the entire season after suffering torn ligaments in a big toe. Last season, he became a forgotten man and was seldom used by ex-Browns coach Pat Shurmur and his staff.
In May, the new regime re-signed Jackson, 27, to a one-year contract. But in the preseason, Jackson had 28 carries for only 43 yards (1.5 average). He added nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Even with Jackson's departure, the team has more reinforcements for starter Trent Richardson because it added Rainey and Johnson. Chris Ogbonnaya, who’s listed as the Browns’ top fullback, is also in the picture at tailback, a position he has played throughout his NFL career.
The Browns' running backs corps was decimated by injuries in the preseason. Backups Montario Hardesty (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Dion Lewis (surgically repaired fractured fibula) are both on season-ending injured reserve.