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Bubba's Browns: Two free agents reunite with Bubba Ventrone

March 13, 20243 min read

In a strategic move that strengthens their special teams unit, the Browns have signed two former Indianapolis Colts players – dynamic kick returner Nyheim Hines and the tenacious special teams ace Tony Brown.

Both athletes now reunite with their former assistant coach Bubba Ventrone, who returns for his second year as the Browns special teams coordinator.

From Colts to Browns: Tracing the Path

Nyheim Hines, a noted standout during his collegiate tenure at NC State, has carved a niche for himself in the NFL with his versatility. His Colts' run was studded with rushing yards that tally up to 1,202 and a notable contribution of 240 receptions for 1,778 yards. Hines is not just a diligent ground gainer; he's also a threat on returns, boasting four touchdowns on the special teams front in his career. After five years in Indianapolis, Hines spent the last two years in Buffalo. However, he missed all of last season due to an off-season jet skiing accident.

Tony Brown's athletic prominence began in Alabama, where his speed on the track translated seamlessly to the gridiron. Despite going undrafted, Brown's persistence saw him find his footing with the Colts. It's his elusive 4.35 second 40-yard dash that often captures the fascination of coaches and fans alike, underlining his speed and defensive potential. The 28-year old has played for a total of five teams in his career, with Indianapolis being his home for the past two years.

Ventrone's Influence

Bubba Ventrone, the common thread between their past and present, is renowned for his coaching acumen, especially within the realm of special teams. Under Ventrone's guidance, Hines flourished as a multifaceted player who could turn the tide of a game within a single play. The coach's bond with Brown too is predicated on a rigorous work ethic and the transformative potential of second chances. Brown has struggled a bit with staying out of trouble, having been suspended in college and again last year.

Ventrone's special teams units have been marked by disciplined play and impactful performances. The prospect of channeling this energy with the Browns presents an exciting opportunity for both players to drive forward under familiar stewardship.

Changes in Cleveland

Brown is poised to fill the vacancy left by Mike Ford, who recently signed with Houston but was integral to the special team's unit last year. Brown's electrifying speed and agility mirror the dynamism Ford brought to the team. His ability to swiftly cover the field and tackle opponents positions him as a natural successor, ensuring the special teams' continuity and effectiveness remain unhampered. When Brown isn't chasing down returners in the kick game, he'll compete for a backup cornerback job.

Hines brings to the Browns a much-needed asset as a true returner, a role that has seen fluctuation due to Hakeem Grant's injuries over the past two seasons. Hines's proficiency in navigating through tight spaces and his exceptional speed make him a formidable force on returns. His proven track record of return touchdowns illuminate the potential for game-changing plays, providing the Browns with a reliable and explosive option that they've sorely missed. Hines also has versatility to contribute in the run game, where he can run and catch out of the backfield.

Contract Details

nyheim hines

Hines accepted a one-year deal, worth up to $3.5 million. Brown reportedly has received a one-year deal, although terms have not been released.

For the Browns, signing Hines and Brown is about injecting their roster with proven versatility and speed while also capitalizing on the familiar bonds with coach Ventrone. The Browns' fans will eagerly anticipate the unique dimensions these players are set to introduce to the Dawg Pound.

Photo credit: Cleveland Browns official website.

special teamsbubba ventroneindianapolis coltscleveland brownsnyheim hinestony brown

Nick Somich

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