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McGahee: Browns are 'a new beginning'

Posted Sep 20, 2013

Cleveland Browns running back Willis McGahee looks at his signing with the team as a fresh start in his 11-year career.

Cleveland Browns running back Willis McGahee looks at signing with the team as a fresh start in his 11-year NFL career.

And he is focused on doing the same things that have gotten him to this point, being the last running back in the 2003 NFL Draft class still playing in the league.

“It’s a fresh start, new beginning,” McGahee said. “I think the players are great. It’s a young team, so we’ve got work to do.

“I’m going to go out there and play the way I know how to play. That’s all I can do. I’ve got to do my job. I can’t do anybody else’s job. I don’t mind helping other running backs. That’s how it is. Every year, they’re going to bring in a running back wherever you go. You’ve got to go out there and show the coaches.”

In a sense, though, signing with the Browns was a step back in time for McGahee, as he will play for coach Rob Chudzinski, who was the University of Miami’s tight ends coach and offensive coordinator when McGahee was carrying the ball for the Hurricanes.

“Chud’s a real good guy,” McGahee said. “He’s a players’ coach. He knows how to relate to the guys. I had him in Miami. He was a little younger, a go-getter at the time. He’s calmed down now. He’s a great coach. I’m pretty sure whatever moves he does make, it’s going to be the right moves for the organization.”

When it came to signing McGahee, Chudzinski saw a player familiar with the system and with a proven track record of success in the NFL.

“Just doing a little review with him yesterday, he’s got a good handle on the offense overall,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll just have to see. We’ll talk about it when we get in as a staff in practice today and where he’s at from a physical standpoint and a conditioning standpoint, but he looked pretty good out in practice today.

“Willis is an experienced guy. He’s done it before. He’s a savvy veteran. Running the ball is an instinctive thing. He’ll be ready to roll and we’re excited about that. We felt like he was the best guy available. Certainly, me knowing Willis and how tough he is from a mental standpoint, what he brings to the table, I have 100 percent faith in him.”

Signed by the Browns Thursday, the 31-year old McGahee has rushed 8,097 yards and 63 touchdowns on 1,957 carries over his time with the Buffalo Bills (2004-06), Baltimore Ravens (2007-10) and Denver Broncos (2011-12). He attributed that success to one thing: heart.

“It all starts in your heart,” McGahee said. “If you tell yourself you can do it, you can do it. Who knew I was going to play 10 years? Nobody thought I was going to play at all. I’m just going to keep surprising everybody.

“That’s how I live because every year, you’ve got to prove yourself. I went to the University of Miami, and that’s how it was. I was there with Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Najeh Davenport, James Jackson. I was fourth on the list. You’ve got to prove yourself. I’m used to it. Believing in God, and in your heart, you can do anything.”

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