The Cleveland Browns signed veteran running back Willis McGahee on Thursday to fill the large void created by trading Trent Richardson.
McGahee was a free agent after being released by the Denver Broncos in June. He’s spent nine years in the NFL, rushing for more than 8,000 yards and reaching two Pro Bowls, but was released by the Broncos after suffering a torn knee ligament and fractured tibia last season.
Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round pick Wednesday.
McGahee turns 32 in October and assuming he becomes the Browns’ top option at running back, he will also become their oldest starter on offense.
During the press conference to discuss the Richardson deal, Browns CEO Joe Banner confirmed McGahee was coming to Cleveland to take a physical, but did not provide further details.
Besides McGahee, Chris Ogbayanna and Bobby Rainey are the Browns’ only other backs of note heading into Sunday’s road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Banner didn’t rule out the possibility of signing other “short-term options.”
McGahee has rushed for more than 1,100 yards four times and made the Pro Bowl as recently as 2011 with the Broncos. He has also spent time with the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.
His 2012 season ended after suffering the knee and leg injury against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 18. Until that point, McGahee had rushed for 731 yards and four touchdowns.
He had a tryout for the New York Giants earlier this month, but they opted to sign Brandon Jacobs instead.
McGahee played under current Browns coach Rob Chudzinski while at University of Miami where Chudzinski was the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator.
Richardson heads to Indianapolis after compiling 105 yards on 31 carries in two games, both losses. He left a message for Cleveland fans upon departing.
“Keep the hope,” Richardson told 19 Action News in Cleveland. “The Browns are going to be good.”