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The impressions of Montario Hardesty have been very positive so far through the OTAs. Tony Grossi likes him and other writers seem to be impressed as well. I was thrilled when the Browns drafted this guy as I saw him play several times while he was a Tennessee and he looked like an NFL back. He has size and speed. He’s also saying all the right things.
Hardesty was a captain at Tennessee. The way he handled the responsibility appealed to everyone in the Browns draft room.
“When the Cleveland Browns came up to get me, I was excited,” Hardesty said. “This has been my dream since I was young. I really couldn’t wait to get here. I don’t want to let Mr. (Tom) Heckert or Coach (Mike) Holmgren or Coach Mangini down.”
Hardesty may have to share a little or a lot with fifth-year Brown Jerome Harrison. He laughs off being able to handle a small load, if that becomes his portion.
“I was in both situations at Tennessee,” he said. “Three carries … 25 carries. Either way, I want to maximize my opportunities.”
If the Browns get lucky, Hardesty will give them almost as strong an inside threat as Greene gives the Jets, and deliver a much bigger outside threat than Green can.
Hardesty has caught on quickly to what Mangini wants the offense to become, a “game-plan-specific” attack that changes every week. Both he and the team see him as having the potential to fit any plan.
The shifty little Harrison provides an outside threat, but Hardesty might, too, in a more threatening body.
“We were a zone-running team last year (at Tennessee),” Hardesty said. “That was our bread and butter.
If the Browns can keep making progress on the running game, it will help the passing game and the defense. I like this approach.