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Baker provides a spark

Posted Dec 15, 2013

Running back Edwin Baker waited a long time to play in his first NFL regular-season game, and found his way to the end zone for the Browns against the Chicago Bears Sunday.

Cleveland Browns running back Edwin Baker is patient.

The Detroit native waited nearly two years to get a chance to make his NFL debut and spent time on practice squads for the San Diego Chargers (2012), Denver Broncos and Houston Texans (2013) before being signed by the Browns on Tuesday last week after Willis McGahee suffered a concussion in the loss at New England two weeks ago.

But when given his chance Sunday in the 38-31 loss to the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium, Baker accounted for 84 total yards and one touchdown.

“It felt great,” Baker said. “I haven’t been out there in a regular-season game, and I’ve been playing hard a couple years on the practice squad and just stayed humble. I was waiting on my turn, waiting on my moment to do what I know I do best. That’s run the ball very hard and get in the end zone. It felt real good.”

For the game, Baker rushed for 38 yards and the one touchdown on eight carries, and averaged 4.8 yards per rush. He added 46 yards on four receptions, and caught all four of the passes that veteran quarterback Jason Campbell threw his way.

“It meant everything in the world,” Baker said. “As a kid, you dream about playing on Sundays. The preseason is a different feeling, but when you’re playing in the regular season and know that everyone’s watching, it’s a dream come true.

“All things come to those who wait. That’s what my dad always told me, and it’s true.”

On Baker’s first career carry in the NFL, he rushed for 10 yards and a Browns first down on a drive that kicker Billy Cundiff later finished with a 35-yard field goal that gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead over the Bears.

“I pride myself on speed and use the offseason to work on speed and be explosive and get through the hole as quickly as possible,” Baker said.

Then, came his big moment.

With 8:24 left in the third quarter, the Browns faced a first-and-goal from the Chicago two-yard line. After taking the snap from center Alex Mack, Campbell turned and stuck the ball in Baker’s arms before the 5-foot-8, 210-pound back plowed his way through the Bears’ interior defensive line and crossed the goal line for the score.

“I almost had a tear,” Baker said of scoring the touchdown. “When you’re a kid, you dream about scoring a touchdown in the NFL and doing something crazy in the end zone. It felt really good.

“I’ve got a nose for the end zone, so I told myself, ‘I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to get in the end zone.”

As for the ball that Baker carried across the goal line, offensive lineman Jason Pinkston quickly picked it up off the ground and gave it to his newest teammate as a keepsake.

“It’s going home,” Baker said with a wide smile. “It’s going with me.”

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