Cleveland Browns: 15 best running backs of all-time

Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /
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player. 53. . RB. 1973-1981. Greg Pruitt. 4

In 1973, the Browns used a second-round pick on Greg Pruitt out of Oklahoma. Pruitt was brought in to eventually replace Leroy Kelly, who played just one season with Pruitt as a teammate. In 1974, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound back became the lead ball carrier and the transition from one star to another went rather smoothly.

Pruitt had 540 yards and three touchdowns in his first season as the primary starter, but then really broke out after that. In 1975, he had his first of three consecutive seasons with over 1,000-yards on the ground. That year, he had 1,067 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.

He ended up playing nine seasons with the Browns, although his final three were spent as a backup. He did still serve a big role despite losing his starting job as Pruitt became an effective receiver out of the backfield. His final year in Cleveland saw him grab 65 passes for 636 yards and four touchdowns.

Following that season, he joined the Oakland Raiders where he played primarily as a returner on special teams. Pruitt is No. 4 all-time in rushing yards for the Browns as he finished his career there with 5,495 yards and 25 touchdowns.

What he may be most famous for would be the tear-away jerseys he wore. Pruitt had 100 percent cotton jerseys that rip when defenders got a hold of them. The NFL eventually banned these in 1979 and it became known as “The Greg Pruitt Rule.” No one can blame him for trying to find an advantage.