Browns RB Nyheim Hines Aiming For Training Camp Return

Nyheim Hines missed the entire 2023 season due to an ACL tear suffered in a jet ski accident last summer. That hurt his free agent value, and the veteran running back/returner took a one-year deal with the Browns this offseason.

That pact (worth up to $3.5MM) will allow Hines to demonstrate his special teams ability in Cleveland, especially if the league’s new kickoff rules produce the desired uptick in returns. The former Colt and Bill has been absent from the Browns’ OTAs, however, as he continues to rehab his knee. Hines remains on schedule in that regard, and in his latest update he said he expects to be on the field no later than training camp.

“I should be ready to go for minicamp,” the 27-year-old said (via the team’s website). “The goal is to be ready right around August 1 or end of July, depending on how my leg comes around. But the goal is to be out there for Week 1.”

Hines has never logged more than 89 carries in a season, but he has shown an ability to succeed in a pass-catching role in addition to his skillset as a returner. The former fourth-rounder has 240 receptions to his name, and that figure will no doubt increase if he manages to carve out an offensive role in Cleveland. The Browns have Nick Chubb atop the depth chart, but he too is recovering from a major knee injury. Chubb – now attached to a restructured contract – is expected to return at some point in 2024.

Even when he does, though, Hines should have the opportunity to serve as a third-down specialist with his new team. The North Carolina State product noted the presence of Browns offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey (who previously held that title with the Bills) as a reason he chose to sign in Cleveland. The team’s recent turnover in terms of returners was another factor for Hines, and excelling in that capacity will certainly help his value next offseason.

As both Hines and Chubb continue to rehab, the team has the likes of Jerome Ford, D’Onta Foreman and Pierre Strong Jr. available in the backfield for the time being. Assuming Hines is able to suit up for Week 1, he should be in line for a particularly notable role until Chubb returns.

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