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Jerome Ford’s Expanded Role: From Kick Returner to All-Round Back

In his rookie season, Jerome Ford made a name for himself as a kick returner for the Cleveland Browns. With 30 returns for 723 yards and an average of 24.1 yards per return, Ford’s impressive performance ranked sixth among players who logged 20 or more returns last season. However, the Browns’ standout rookie is expected to broaden his contributions on the field in the upcoming season.

Ford first gained attention during the Browns’ OTAs, where he was the lead running back in full team drills due to the absence of top back, Nick Chubb​. The Browns’ decision-makers were reportedly impressed by Ford’s performance, leading to expectations of his expanded role in the 2023 season.

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Aside from his abilities as a rusher, Ford has been lauded for his skills in the passing game. General Manager Andrew Berry has expressed optimism about Ford’s pass-catching abilities, believing they will help him excel in his second season. This confidence in Ford’s receiving skills is further substantiated by high praise from his running back coach, Stump Mitchell, who noted Ford’s versatile skillset and exceptional work ethic on the field​.

In a surprising move, the Browns left the running back position largely untouched during the 2023 free agency and NFL draft. This points to the team’s belief in Ford’s potential, as he has been slated as the second running back on the depth chart without any real contenders to challenge him​.

The upcoming season looks promising for Ford, who is expected to maintain his duties as a kick returner while also contributing more as a rusher and receiver. The Browns’ second-year back is projected to see a significant uptick in touches, as the team looks to replace the 158 times Kareem Hunt touched the football in the previous year​.

With a significant role in the Browns’ offense seemingly on the horizon, Jerome Ford is poised to become a key player in the 2023 season. Fans and analysts alike will be watching closely to see how Ford’s versatility and work ethic contribute to the Browns’ success on the field.