Lewis Confident He can Lead Browns Running Attack

CLEVELAND (AP) - Jamal Lewis isn't promising 2,000 yards, but thinks he can be the same bruising running back who tormented the Cleveland Browns for years.

"They know what I can do. Hopefully, we can do it to other teams now," Lewis said in a teleconference Thursday.

Lewis signed a one-year deal Wednesday with Cleveland that could be worth as much as $3.5 million, a move that takes him from first to worst in the AFC North.

The 27-year-old has seen his numbers decline since he was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2003. He believes though that can help the Browns get to where the Baltimore Ravens are.

"I've got a lot left in the tank when I have something to work with, and I feel Cleveland is going to give me that opportunity to do what I do," Lewis said.

Lewis signed with the Browns without visiting another team. Lewis was convinced by Cleveland's acquisition of free agent guard Eric Steinbach and other improvements he expects on the offensive line.

His history with Browns general manager Phil Savage, a former talent evaluator for the Ravens, also was a major factor for Lewis, who served time in prison two years ago for using a cell phone to set up a drug buy.

"Phil Savage knows who I am and what I'm capable of," Lewis said. "I just know he's going to take care of me and put me in a good position."

Lewis embarrassed the Browns by running for an NFL single-game record 295 yards in 2003 on his way to 2,066 yards, the second-highest total in league history.

He hasn't come anywhere close since.

He ran for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns last season, his best statistics in three years, but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry.

"Everybody looks for me to get 2,000 every year," said Lewis, who indicated he was frustrated by Baltimore's unwillingness to make him the focus of the offense.

Lewis was due a $5 million roster bonus and was released by the Ravens last week in a salary-cap move.

Baltimore turned around and traded three draft picks to Buffalo for running back Willis McGahee on Thursday.

Bone spurs prevented Lewis from planting on his ankle last season, he said, adding that he is in better condition after recent surgery to have them removed.

"On the football field, I still have the breakaway speed. I still hit the holes like I need to," Lewis said. "With 20 to 25 carries, I can put up those nice numbers everybody likes to see."

He could be sharing carries if the Browns select Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson with the No. 3 overall pick, a move that would surprise Lewis.

"They can spend that money somewhere else," he said.

The Browns also must decide what to do with feature back Reuben Droughns. They owe Droughns a $1.75 million roster bonus later this month, but may choose to cut him instead.

"I didn't even raise the question about Reuben Droughns," Lewis said. "That's something they have to deal with."

Lewis ran for 7,801 yards and 45 TDs in seven seasons with Baltimore. Many of those yards came against the Browns, a team he viewed as having some talent, but always unable to put it together.

"My perception before was, 'Does this team really want to win?"' he said. "Now going in, I can see they really do want to win."