Home is where the heart is and for Carlos Hyde, Ohio is home.
After all, it wasn't that long ago when Hyde was Ohio State's star running back, endearing himself to fans in Columbus and across the state in the process.
Because of that, Hyde -- the former 49ers standout who officially signed with the Browns Thursday afternoon -- is happy to come back to the Buckeye State after four years on the West Coast. Equally important, he said, is the chance to leave a mark in Cleveland as the franchise tries to bounce back from its first-ever winless season.
"It's the opportunity to change an organization around and it's another opportunity to come back home and be closer to my family," said Hyde, who spent the past four years in San Francisco, including the past two as its top back. "I know what it feels like going out there competing and trying to get your first win. I would rather come around and be with some guys who are hungry to go get that first win and get a winning season. That's something that definitely brought me back here."
Hyde, a former second-round draft pick who's coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 1,000 all-purpose yards, gives the Browns a powerful, three-down running back to join forces with the dynamic Duke Johnson. He'll be a focal point in a new-look offense that added former Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
"I've always liked what he does," general manager John Dorsey said. "I think he's built to play the Cleveland Browns' style of running game."
"He likes to carry that ball," coach Hue Jackson added. "He goes downhill, then he bounces off of people and he keeps on going. In order for us to be the type of team I think we want to become, late in the year when it becomes November, December and January, you have to be able to run the football. You have to be able to line up and knock the other team off of the ball and hand the ball to somebody who's going to make plays, and that's who Carlos Hyde is."
Hyde, who effectively replaces former running back Isaiah Crowell, said he's here to do whatever the Jackson and the coaching staff ask of him. He added Dorsey told him, "We brought you here to give you the rock, let you get downhill and let you play your style of football."
For Hyde, of course, it's also a chance for him to do what he loves and be closer to his loved ones. "Living on the West Coast and my family living on the East Coast in Ohio, those lights, they start adding up over the years," he said. "I don't get to see my family that often."
That'll change next fall. Hyde also hopes he can help the Browns' on-field fortunes change, too.