Could Montario Hardesty be on the roster bubble for the Cleveland Browns this season? By several accounts, he is and that isn’t to be unexpected, given his history with the Browns in the last two seasons. Cleveland used their first first-round selection to pick Alabama RB Trent Richardson in April and he figures to carry the bulk of the rushing load for the Browns this season.
Hardesty has to be considered the third back on the Browns roster currently as all reports suggest Brandon Jackson is looking crisp in offseason OTAs and figures to spell Richardson on occasional third downs. Cleveland added rookie Adonis Thomas out of Toledo after the draft and has Chris Ogbonnaya on the roster currently. The final roster spot might just come down to a battle between Hardesty and Ogbonnaya.
Hardesty comes with a lot of baggage. His injury history is extensive and he has undergone knee surgery twice on the same knee. In two years, Hardesty has only appeared in 10 games for the Browns, missing his entire rookie season after suffering a knee injury. Questions now surround whether or not Haresty is actually recovered from his surgery. The Canton Repository reports that he has a hitch in his step when he walks.
Last week, Hardesty told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he feels he’s as talented as rookie Trent Richardson. Hardesty told the newspaper, “I feel I’m as good as any back in the league.” He might believe this, but he has yet to prove anything on the field at the NFL level, continuing his string of injuries which date back to his college days at Tennessee.
If Hardest makes the final 53-man roster this season, he will have demonstrate that he is fully recovered from his injuries and he’ll most likely have to be a standout on special teams for the Browns.