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Notes: RB Nyheim Hines agrees to 1-year deal

With Nick Chubb likely to miss the start of the season, the Browns needed to add to the stable of running backs.

They did that Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year deal worth a maximum $3.5 million with free agent Nyheim Hines, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram. He’s a threat as a runner, pass catcher and kick returner.

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Hines, 27, was released by the Bills last week and, like Chubb, is returning from a serious knee injury. Hines missed all of last season after he sustained torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee in a Sea-Doo accident July 2. He had surgery Aug. 8.

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He was on his way back from filling up the personal watercraft when he was hit by another.

Chubb is recovering from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments suffered in a Week 2 loss to the Steelers. He’s expected to return at some point during the season.

The Browns also have Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong Jr.

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Hines (5-foot-9, 196 pounds) was a fourth-round pick of the Colts in 2018 and traded to the Bills during the 2022 season.

He’s started 17 of 81 games, rushing for 1,202 yards, 10 touchdowns and a 3.9 average. He’s a good receiver — 240 catches for 1,778 yards and eight touchdowns — and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns with the Bills and two punts for touchdowns with the Colts. His best season was 2020, when he rushed for 380 yards and three touchdowns and caught 63 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns.

Hines worked in Buffalo with new Browns offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who held the same role with the Bills. He also was with special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone in Indianapolis.

“What’s up #DawgPound nyghtmare at your service,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Thank you for welcoming me to the Land. Excited to get to work”

DE Za’Darius Smith, DT Maurice Hurst II returning; LB Jordan Hicks agrees to two-year deal

COMING AND GOING

It’s no surprise that through two days of free agency general manager Andrew Berry has been busiest along the defensive line.

Defensive tackle Shelby Harris agreed to re-sign Tuesday, he tweeted and a source confirmed. That follows the agreements to return of end Za’Darius Smith and tackle Maurice Hurst II, which were struck Monday.

Harris, 32, signed a one-year deal with the Browns last offseason and had a big impact as part of the tackle rotation. The 10-year veteran started seven of 17 games and had 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, 28 tackles, six for loss, five passes defensed and a forced fumble for the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.

** Starting defensive tackle Jordan Elliott won’t return, agreeing to a two-year, $10 million contract with the 49ers. He was a third-round pick of the Browns in 2020 and wasn’t expected to re-sign.

He didn’t miss a game in four years and started 31 the last two years after coming off the bench his first two seasons. He had flashes of brilliance but was inconsistent, totaling five sacks, 98 tackles, eight for loss, and four passes defensed in his career.

DEPTH MOVES

The Browns kept a backup offensive lineman and added another.

Guard Michael Dunn re-signed rather than become a free agent, agent David Canter tweeted. Dunn, 29, joined the Browns in 2020 and has appeared in 40 games with six starts. He started two games in 2023, drawing praise from coaches and teammates.

** Offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji reached agreement on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

The 6-4, 315-pounder was a sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2020 and has started 15 games in four years. He spent last year with the Vikings, appearing in four games with no starts.

He adds depth at tackle, as the Browns are scheduled to return starters Jack Conklin, Jedrick Wills Jr. and Dawand Jones and backup James Hudson III.

SAYING GOODBYE

Linebacker Sione Takitaki agreed Monday to a two-year contract with the Patriots worth up to $10 million. He spent five years with the Browns after being drafted in the third round in 2019.

“Just want to thank the city of Cleveland and the Browns organization for the last 5 years,” he wrote on Instagram with a series of pictures of him with the Browns. “Thank you for excepting (sic) me and my family with open arms. Built bonds that with (sic) last a lifetime. Forever love!!”

Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who’s staying, posted farewell messages to Takitaki and Anthony Walker Jr., who agreed to a one-year deal with the Dolphins.

“Wishing my big brother immense success!” Owusu-Koramoah wrote to Walker. “Going to miss you! Appreciative of the opportunity to learn from you.”

“Going to Miss you too family!” he wrote to Takitaki. “Even though we had a couple fights lol, it’s always love forever. Wishing you success!”

EXTRA POINTS

The Browns chose linebacker Jordan Hicks over Walker and Takitaki, agreeing to a two-year, $8 million contract Monday. One of the reasons is Hicks’ history with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

They were together with the Eagles from 2016-18 when Schwartz was in the same role. Hicks was a third-round pick of the Eagles in 2015.

** WWE’s SummerSlam will be held at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 3, its first visit to Cleveland since 1996.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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