Green still needs to prove himself

Browns coach Butch Davis is not committing to William Green or Lee Suggs as his main running back for next season.

Updated: March 30, 2004, 7:15 PM ET
Associated Press

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Browns coach Butch Davis is not committing to William Green or Lee Suggs as his main running back for next season. But when he talks about Suggs, the subject matter is far brighter than about Green, who spent 72 hours in jail last month on a drunken driving charge. Green also was reinstated by the NFL in January after being suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

During his suspension, Green was hospitalized with a stab wound to his back. His fiancee, Asia Gray, was charged with attacking Green in their home.

"I think he's made some progress," Davis said of Green, a first-round draft choice in 2002. "There was a laundry list of things that he needed to take care of. Some were careerwise, some were professional, some were family and some were personal. And he's started checking those things off ... working his way through counseling and reconciliation.

"We're encouraged that he's working at it. Right now, he's back in good standing with the team."

So is he the starter, or will Suggs get the job after rehabilitating a shoulder injury and getting back on the field late last season?

"Without trying to create a major controversy, William still has a lot to prove," Davis said. "He's got a lot to prove to the team, to me and everybody else. I think there's some things that he's got to earn back, and we'll see where that takes us."

As for Suggs, a fourth-round draft pick last year, Davis praised his attitude and work ethic.

"Lee Suggs did a lot of really positive things before he ever hit the field," Davis said. "The way he handled the PUP (physically unable to perform list), and the (shoulder) surgery, and the ability to rehab. Then when he got into practice, the statements he made about doing whatever, cover kickoffs, just to help us win. He was thrilled to play.

"Then when he got a chance to be a running back, in the Cincinnati game, he did very well.

"In this league, you've got to do that about 100 games in a row."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press