HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Aug. 14, 2006) -- The New York Jets got the running back help they needed by acquiring Lee Suggs from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for defensive back Derrick Strait.
With Curtis Martin on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of a lingering knee injury, the Jets were desperate to get another back on the roster. Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston were taking most of the plays at running back, but neither is the type of player who can shoulder the entire rushing load.
Martin's future is less certain. He underwent surgery on his right knee in December, and has yet to recover fully. He has yet to practice, and reports have said he has a "bone on bone" condition in his knee. But Martin continues to rehab, and said last week he wants to play this season.
Suggs hasn't been able to stay on the field for the Browns, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. At various times in his pro career, Suggs has been sidelined by injuries to a shoulder, neck, toe, ankle and thumb.
The speedy 6-foot, 213-pounder appeared in only seven games as a rookie because of a shoulder injury he sustained at Virginia Tech. In his final game that season, he ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Suggs won a starting job in training camp in 2004, but hurt his neck in the final preseason game and was inactive for the first three games of the regular season. He returned to play in seven games before missing three straight with a toe injury.
He finished '04 with 744 yards and two touchdowns.
Suggs hurt his ankle during the preseason last year and missed Cleveland's first two games. He dressed in Weeks 3 and 4 but injured his thumb and was inactive for six weeks.
Suggs has rushed for 1,048 yards and four TDs as a pro.
Strait was a third-round pick in 2004 but has been a backup in his two NFL seasons. During camp, he moved over to safety in the absence of Erik Coleman, who is out after having an appendectomy. Strait had 31 tackles last season, but has yet to notch his first career interception.
"It's a great opportunity for Derrick," said his agent, Michael Lartigue. "They know what kind of player Derrick is. Lee Suggs is a great running back. It's a fresh start, change of scenery for both Derrick and Lee."
Strait will bring some immediate and needed depth at cornerback for the Browns.
Daylon McCutcheon recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and might not be back in time for the Sept. 10 season opener against New Orleans. Gary Baxter strained his left pectoral muscle on the first play from scrimmage Aug. 10 in the preseason opener in Philadelphia and is expected to be out 3-4 weeks.
The Associated Press News Service