Former Brown Pruitt Glad Team Has New Ownership
Former running back admires Richardson's style
Former Browns running back legend Greg Pruitt doesn’t even attempt to hide his glee at the team’s recent change in ownership: out with fútbol– in with football.
For Pruitt, previous owner Randy Lerner spent too much time playing footsie in European soccer while neglecting his beloved Browns here at home. Now that Jimmy Haslam III – a devoted Steelers fan, no less – is running the show, Pruitt believes things will be different.
“I’m anxious to see an owner who’s more hands-on, more involved rather than pass the buck,” Pruitt said. “(Randy) Lerner inherited it from his dad (Al Lerner). He’s a soccer guy. He then got (Team president Mike) Holmgren to try to appease us in terms of having a football guy. But that’s different because Holmgren, no matter how good he is and regardless of what you say in terms of how much power you give him, you have the power. And I think the guy with the power should be a guy that’s hands-on.”
Pruitt, who resides in Shaker Heights and served as grand marshal in the Mayfield Heights Community Unity Days parade Sunday, reflected on the current state of the Browns and the young man who’ll soon take up his old job, rookie running back Trent Richardson.
The Browns announced Aug. 9 that Richardson had surgery on his left knee but should return in time for the regular-season opener at home against Philadelphia on Sept. 9. Nonetheless, Pruitt already likes what he sees from the Alabama back drafted third overall in April.
“He can go to the house with the ball,” Pruitt said. “Being a former running back myself, that gives a lineman that little extra incentive to know that this ain’t going to be 3 yards and a cloud of dust. If I do my job, I can be getting off the field because this guy can go to the house. These little things make a big difference in effort from the linemen.”
Pruitt, who will turn 61 on Saturday, played 12 years in the NFL, nine of those with the Browns from 1973-1981 before joining the Raiders for his final three years.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Pruitt had 27 rushing touchdowns in his career and ran for 5,672 yards. Pruitt had 328 catches for 3,069 yards and 18 touchdown receptions. He also had one punt and one kickoff return touchdown.
Pruitt, who is originally from Houston and played at Oklahoma, was inducted into the Cleveland Browns Legends in 2001. He owns and operates his own construction business locally.
Pruitt looks forward to seeing how the Browns will perform in the 2012-2013 season and believes the ownership change, along with a strong draft, is a step in the right direction for the Browns who haven’t had a winning season since going 10-6 in 2007.
"I saw a big difference. I went to a couple of the practices. They’ve got a lot of depth. They’ve got a lot of guys with talent,” Pruitt said. “Of course, you can’t really tell until you see them in game situations.”