The Browns and Eagles traded backups Thursday, renewing Cleveland CEO Joe Banner’s relationship with his former team and adding speed to the Browns’ group of running backs.
Dion Lewis, 22, joined the Browns in exchange for linebacker Emmanuel Acho, a sixth-round pick last year who missed the season with a knee injury.
Lewis is 5-foot-8, 195 pounds and considered a change-of-pace back. He has 36 carries for 171 yards, a 4.8 average and two touchdowns in 24 games. He was a fifth-round pick (No. 149 overall) out of Pittsburgh in 2011.
“Dion is a back who runs with very good quickness and vision,” coach Rob Chudzinski said in the release announcing the move. “He is a promising young player who will add depth, which is extremely important at that position.”
Lewis joins Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya in the mix behind starter Trent Richardson. Lewis could also be a possibility as a kickoff returner with the expected departure of Joshua Cribbs.
Lewis returned 31 kickoffs as a rookie for a 21.6-yard average and a long of 33. He returned one kick for 33 yards in 2012.
“Happy to be a BROWN #dawgpound,” he tweeted.
Lewis broke Tony Dorsett’s freshman rushing record at Pitt with 1,799 yards, which ranked third in the nation. He added 17 rushing touchdowns and was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He rushed for 1,061 yards and 13 touchdowns in his second, and final, season.
“Dion had an extremely productive college career and responded well in his limited chances with the Eagles,” said Banner, who spent 19 years with the Eagles, including 12 as president. “We felt this would be a good opportunity for him and us, and we are happy that Dion is now a member of the Browns.”
Acho was a sixth-round pick of former general manager Tom Heckert in 2012. He injured knee cartilage in the preseason, had surgery and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. In limited time, Acho never appeared quick enough to be a factor on defense.
“Love my dudes @C__Robertson@50JMJ and @TwoStarWade#Browns your future is in great hands! Appreciate y’all for the opportunity!” Acho tweeted. “With that being said, EXTREMELY excited to join the @Eagles and continue my career there! Wassup PHILLY!!!”
Haslam sells Steelers stock
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam no longer owns a piece of the rival Steelers.
Pittsburgh announced all of Haslam’s stock was sold and the transactions were approved by the NFL. The majority of the shares were purchased by existing Steelers stockholders, and Scott and Russ Swank also bought a portion.
Haslam bought a minority stake in the Steelers in 2008, reportedly a 12.5 percent share. He bought the Browns in October from Randy Lerner for $1 billion and disassociated himself from the Steelers.
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