Houston Texans free-agent running back Ben Tate is in town tonight visiting the Browns, a Browns spokesman confirmed.
If Tate strikes a deal with the Browns, he could become their featured back next season. The Browns could also draft a running back in May.
Tate, 25, has been linked to the Browns since September, when the organization traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for first-round pick in the 2014 draft. He is considered a good fit for new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's running game, which is predicated on a zone-blocking scheme.
Last season, Tate started seven of the 14 games in which he appeared. He sat out the final two games with cracked ribs.
The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Tate had 181 carries for 771 yards (4.3 average) and four touchdowns to go along with 34 receptions for 140 yards last season. He also fumbled five times. In ProFootballFocus.com’s rankings, Tate tied for 44th among 55 NFL running backs.
The Texans drafted Tate in the second round (58th overall) in 2010. He was sidelined for his entire rookie season with a fractured ankle.
In 2011, Tate rushed for 942 yards on 175 carries (5.4 average) and four touchdowns and tallied 13 catches for 98 yards in 15 games. In 2012, he had 65 carries for 279 yards (4.3 average) and two touchdowns to go along with 11 catches for 49 yards.