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What Earnest Byner has provided the Browns RBs, coaching staff as offseason workouts draw to a close

Kirby Wilson made it clear recently the Browns' offense will be a run-oriented one.

"I think when you look at Coach (Hue) Jackson's background, he is a 'quarterback guru.' He has done a tremendous job over the years with that, but if you look at his record, in terms of running the football and the amount that he runs it, you're going to find out that he really, truly does enjoy running the football," Cleveland's running backs coach and run game coordinator said.

"Everything starts with the run game, our offensive line and our backs. As coach told us, we are going to be a physically dominant, running football team."

And against that backdrop, the Browns have tapped into valuable alumni resources, including former running back Earnest Byner.

"He's been great," Jackson said last week. "Obviously, Earnest played here when things were really good, when the Browns were really special."

Indeed, Byner, who played 14 seasons — seven of which were spent in Cleveland —  has been with the Browns since the beginning of OTAs, working coaching hours and offering his expertise to a number of areas.

Byner, who spent time in the Ravens' front office and served as a running backs coach for the Redskins, Jaguars, Titans and Buccaneers, said a love for the Browns and the city of Cleveland drew him back to Northeast Ohio.

"I forgot how much it takes to really be involved with the coaching and the meetings but it's been fun because I'm involved in something that I care about deeply in a town I care about deeply and with an organization I care about," Byner said last month.

The Browns took to the practice fields for their final offseason training activity of 2016 before next week's minicamp.

"I have a lot of experience as a player and an administrator and a coach. I think being able to observe in a somewhat non-attached position like I'm coming in is something that will help me be able to maybe make some suggestions or give some thoughts and feedback on things, communication, some techniques.

"I can offer a few things but what is available is the opportunity to be in touch with these guys, with the coaching staff, with (executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown) with the scouts, communicating on a friendly basis but also being able to try to make a difference in some of the things they're trying to accomplish."

Jackson, who also said he'll lean on the wisdom of legendary Browns running back Jim Brown in a similar manner, echoed as much Thursday when asked about what Byner adds to a coaching staff that's brought something of a new energy to Berea lately.

"Earnest has a very passionate (feeling) about the city, about the football team, about playing the position," Jackson said.

"I have known Earnest for a while. He is a tremendous coach when he has coached in this league. He knows how to communicate with young men, and they can see the picture that he is painting."

That picture, of course, includes one that envisions the Browns having a powerful run game behind Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr., whom Jackson has offered a vote of confidence throughout the course of OTAs.

And to get the most out of the pair of backs — and the rest of a running backs room learning from Wilson, who has helped seven different running backs break the 1,000-yard mark a total of eight times in his 18-year career — Byner offers another set of eyes and ears.

"He has been very good for me because he will see things sometimes that maybe I didn't see. It's not unlikely that I will be home and here comes three or four texts from Earnest about something, but he has been outstanding," Jackson said.

"The thing that I really respect from him is that he is really a true Cleveland Brown. He gets it. He knows exactly what we are trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish."

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