Browns Release Popular Running Back Ben Gay

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Browns on Wednesday released Ben Gay, the backup running back with a troubled past who became an instant cult hero with fans last season.

Browns coach Butch Davis said that he released Gay (pictured, above) because the team had too many running backs after selecting Boston College's William Green in the first round of the NFL draft.

"Ben Gay showed flashes of the talents we knew he possessed, he gave us versatility with his running and kick returning abilities and he helped play a role on last year's team," Davis said.

The Browns also signed offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara, defensive end Derrick Ham and linebacker Anthony Denman to one-year contracts.

Gay, 22, signed with the Browns three days before training camp last season. At the time, Davis described him as an 80-to-1 long shot to make the team.

After he ripped off a 58-yard run in the Browns' first scrimmage, fans took note and would chant his name whenever he took the field.

Gay was a Texas high school phenom who rushed for 2,217 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior.

At Baylor, he memorized the Bears' playbook but didn't bother going to class. He left and spent a year at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

His best game with the Browns was in a Nov. 18 victory at Baltimore, where he scored a touchdown and rushed for 56 yards.

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