Players praise Edwin Baker for play

Posted Dec 28, 2013

Cleveland Browns running back Edwin Baker will see a familiar face on the Pittsburgh sideline in former Michigan State teammate, Le’Veon Bell, Sunday at Heinz Field.

In two short weeks since signing with the Cleveland Browns off the Houston Texans’ practice squad, running back Edwin Baker has provided the team with a spark in the running game that had been difficult to find in the first 13 games of the regular season.

On 25 carries, Baker has gained 102 yards, averaging 4.1 yards-per-rush. He also has gained 58 yards on six catches.

“Like I’ve always said, ‘God has plan for everyone. Good things come to those who wait,’” Baker said earlier in the week. “I’ve just been waiting, waiting for my moment. I’m not a stranger to getting a lot of carries. Back when I was in college, I would get multiple carries.

“I have a lot more improvement to (make). They expect a lot of me. They told me that when I first got here. I’m going to continue living up to expectations of myself and the coaching staff. I’m always eager. I was always ready to go, even when I wasn’t playing. I was always ready to get back to football, get ready for the upcoming season and show what I can do.”

In addition to the attention of the coaches and his teammates, Baker’s success as of late has caught the eye of a former teammate, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Baker and Bell spent two years together at Michigan State University, but will be on opposite sidelines when the Browns travel to Heinz Field Sunday to finish the 2013 regular season against the Steelers.

“I’m not surprised, at all,” Bell said of Baker’s success. “I’ve seen Edwin every day in practice at Michigan State, and he’s a very, very good runner. He’s explosive, and I think, as a runner, that only makes a defense nervous when you have someone with that much explosive ability, that hits the edge real fast and can break long runs. That’s what he can bring to the offense. He definitely brings a different dynamic to the game, and we’ve got to try to contain him.”

Bell, who leads the Steelers with 770 yards and seven touchdowns on 224 carries and has turned 44 receptions into 393 yards out of the backfield, said he learned a lot about the game of football from Baker during their time together at Michigan State.

“I don’t think he just gave me a message,” Bell said. “By practicing with him, going through practice at Michigan State, we did a lot of things together. He taught me a lot of things, especially when I was younger and trying to get involved in the offense more, he’d always show me the ropes and the little things I had to get right.

“I remember everything. That’s my guy, one of my buddies. He’s a stand-up guy, a good guy. I’ve been talking to him this week.”

Just like Baker has earned the respect of Bell with his production of late, the Browns’ starting running back against the New York Jets last week is proud of his former protégé.

“It’s a great thing,” Baker said. “He’s been doing a fantastic job as a rookie. He’s a great person, a great running back.

“From the first time he stepped on campus, he made a great impression. As a freshman, there’s not a lot of players that can do that, come right in and play a role like he did. He showcased his talent at Michigan State. From the first time he stepped on campus, he was doing a terrific job. He’s doing a great job now.”

But the mutual admiration will take a three-hour break come Sunday.

“We’re trying to establish something here,” Baker said. “It’s something different, so hopefully, we’re going to get it going and get this win.”

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