Suggs in prime position to start for Browns this season

Running back Lee Suggs is making a strong case to become a starter for the Cleveland Browns.

Suggs has rushed for 167 yards on 15 carries in one scrimmage and two exhibition games during the preseason, compared to William Green’s 53 yards on 14 carries.

Cleveland coach Butch Davis said he would not name a starter until just before the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 12, but Suggs thinks he’s closed the deal.

“To me, yeah, I think I’ve done enough to be the starter,” Suggs said Tuesday.

“But if you ask anybody in this league, they think they should be the starter. If the coach said he’s not going to name a starter (until Sept. 12), that’s what he said. My job is to keep playing no matter when he names one.”

Suggs had a 50-yard run against Buffalo in a scrimmage, gained 24 yards on five carries against Tennessee and had two touchdowns last Saturday against Detroit.

His efforts in the preseason have gone a long way toward proving his 186-yard, two-touchdown effort against Cincinnati in last season’s finale was not a fluke.

“A lot of people were saying I only had that many yards because my legs were fresh,” said Suggs, whose lone start in 2003 came against the Bengals.

Some are surprised a fourth-round pick from last year’s draft is capable of making such an impact so soon.

Others are shocked Suggs was only a fourth-round pick.

A shoulder injury dropped Suggs’ value before the 2003 draft, making him available when the Browns were on the clock in the fourth round.

Cleveland already had Green, James Jackson and Jamel White on its roster, but couldn’t pass on a player who was an All-America at Virginia Tech as a sophomore.

To the Browns, Suggs is much more than a middle-round draft choice.

“He’s got the potential to be a great back,” right guard Kelvin Garmon said.

“He has the opportunity to be his own player, to be a household name. We’re going to be leading the league in rushing by week eight, so people will have to know who he is.”

Garmon blocked for San Diego All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson for two years, paving the way for Tomlinson to surpass 1,500 yards in each season.

Tomlinson is considered one of the best backs in the NFL, but Garmon sees similarities between Suggs and his former teammate.

“When LaDainian gets the ball, he expects to score each time,” Garmon said. “That’s how Suggs is. He’s always looking for the hole. He’s not looking for a few yards, he’s looking to score.”