Browns waive Ben Tate 10 games into first season in Cleveland
CLEVELAND -- Ben Tate doesn't have to worry about losing carries with the Browns any longer.
The team released the disgruntled running back on Tuesday, two days after he was given the ball just twice in a matchup against the Houston Texans, his former team.
Tate signed a two-year, $6.2 million free agent contract in March with Cleveland to be the Browns' every-down back. He rushed for 333 yards, but his playing time had been dwindling with the emergence of rookies Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West.
Last week, Tate said he wasn't satisfied with Cleveland's running backs rotation and the team decided to move on without him.
Browns general manager Ray Farmer explained the move in a release.
"With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team," Farmer said. "This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward."
On Sunday, Tate was made a captain for the game against the Texans, his team for four seasons. But he had just two rushes for minus-9 yards and initially declined interviews following the game. Tate began to leave the locker room without talking to reporters, but was coaxed to stay by a member of the team's media relations staff.
Tate was short with his answers and got into a brief exchange with one reporter who suggested Tate didn't look happy.
"Did I tell you that?" Tate said, with the reporter replying that Tate seemed unhappy.
"Oh it seemed. Do you know me personally?" Tate said. "Exactly, so you don't know. You're assuming now."
Tate, who made six starts this season, rushed for 124 yards against Tennessee but hasn't been as productive in recent weeks. On Monday, Browns coach Mike Pettine was asked what had happened to Tate.
"Nothing I would speak on here," he said before praising Crowell and West. "The young backs -- and I've talked of this before about West -- is that there's an explosiveness there with the young backs, just a little bit more pop. We wanted to see those guys out there. Sometimes it's not a matter of a negative against a guy. Sometimes it's more of a positive with the other ones, but we take everything into account when we discuss the running backs."
Tate's departure came less than a week after he grumbled about playing time. As the Browns prepared to face the Texans, Tate was asked if he was satisfied with his role.
"I'd be lying if I said yeah," he said. "It's not, but whatever the organization thinks is best for the team, then that's what we're going to do."
Tate beat out West and Crowell for the starting job in training camp and began the season as Cleveland's primary back. He sprained his right knee in the Sept. 7 opener at Pittsburgh and missed two games. But he returned after the bye week with a bang, rushing for a career-high in yards as the Browns overcame a 25-point deficit -- the biggest comeback in NFL history by a road team -- to stun the Titans 29-28.
But Tate's opportunities faded as West replaced him as the starter in Cleveland's 24-3 win at Cincinnati on Nov. 6 and Crowell, an undrafted rookie, started over Tate on Sunday against the Texans, who selected him in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Tate's departure could give undrafted rookie Glenn Winston some playing time. He's played on special teams but the Browns have been anxious to see what he can do.