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Browns sign Dontrell Hilliard to roster

Running back could be in line to take over the kick return duties.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Training Camp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns signed running back Dontrell Hilliard to the active roster on Wednesday.

Hilliard opened the season by spending the first three weeks on the team’s practice squad.

The Browns originally signed Hilliard as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He played in 25 games during the past two seasons, primarily in the return game, with 28 kickoff returns for an average of 24.4 yards per return and six punt returns for an average of 7.1 yards per return, according to clevelandbrowns.com.

That experience could mean that Hilliard is in line to take over in the return game after the Browns lost returner JoJo Natson to a season-ending ACL injury earlier this week.

Hilliard has also seen limited time on offense, with 13 career carries for 49 yards and a pair of touchdowns, along with 21 receptions for 197 yards. That might be worth keeping in mind given that running back Kareem Hunt did not practice on Wednesday as he is now dealing with a groin injury, according to Andrew Gribble, the team’s senior staff writer:

The Browns are also reportedly looking at free agent kick returner Ryan Switzer, who is waiting to clear COVID-19 testing so he can have a visit with the team, according to The Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich.

A three-year veteran, Switzer has played in 41 games, returning 67 punts for an average of eight yards per return, and 63 kickoffs for an average of 21.8 yards per return. Switzer spent the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who released him on September 5.

In other roster news, the Browns re-signed linebacker Montrel Meander to the practice squad a day after releasing him.