The Browns failed to establish any kind of a run game on Sunday in a 24-6 loss to the Jaguars, rushing the ball 30 times for just 69 yards. As a result, one Browns player lost his job on Monday.
The Browns waived starting fullback Ray Agnew and promoted Kiero Small from the practice squad to the active roster.
After seeing 23 snaps against both the Ravens and Titans, Agnew's workload decreased. The rookie was on the field for 14 snaps against Pittsburgh and 18 versus Jacksonville.
The undrafted free agent started all six games at fullback this season. He rushed the ball twice for two yards and caught two passes for 15 yards. One of those receptions was a three-yard catch on the first play from scrimmage against the Jaguars.
Small has spent all seven weeks of the season thus far on the Browns' practice squad. The 5'9, 242 pound rookie out of Arkansas was selected in the seventh round by the Seahawks. Seattle cut the Baltimore native on August 30, and the Browns signed him to their practice squad one day later. One report indicates that the Browns promoted Small in order to prevent the Seahawks, who saw their fullback get injured on Sunday, from signing him:
With FB Derrick Coleman hurt, Seahawks wanted to sign Kiero Small, whom they drafted. That's why Browns elevated Small to active roster.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 20, 2014
Small's journey to the NFL has been circuitous to say the least. After graduating from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore, Small enrolled in the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He didn't like the experience, dropping out after one semester to work for his father's T-shirt business.
Small then contacted every community college in California, looking for a chance to play football. He finally found a home at Hartnell Community College in Salinas, California, where he played fullback and linebacker in 2010. Arkansas soon discovered Small and offered him a scholarship as a fullback.
The JUCO transfer quickly became a fan favorite with Arkansas fans. A powerful, bruising back, Small paved the way for running backs with brutal blocks on opposing linemen, linebackers, and safeties.
Small played in all of Arkansas' 13 games in 2011, starting two. He then missed all but one game of the 2012 season with a foot injury and took a medical redshirt. His 2013 season was his best, as Small played in all 12 games and started seven. He finished the year with 40 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 19 receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Arkansas Fight wrote a great analysis of Small's strengths and weaknesses in May before the draft, and it's well worth the read. Nolan Nawrocki at NFL.com did the same, and it is well-done, too.
Small did visit the Browns in April before the draft, and the team had some interest in him.
#Browns HC Mike Pettine: We considered drafting FB Kiero Small, who was promoted from practice squad to active roster today.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) October 20, 2014
In related news, the Browns made a pair of small moves before Sunday's game. The team waived tight end Gerell Robinson and promoted defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel from the practice squad to the active roster. McDaniel played 21 snaps on defense and one on special teams against the Jaguars. McDaniel recorded one pass defensed in the the third quarter.