CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns continue adding to their offensive line.
After signing young veteran left guard Joel Bitonio to a five-year contract extension and bringing in guard Kevin Zeitler from the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns added versatile interior offensive lineman JC Tretter, who has experience at guard, tackle and center, on the first day of the new National Football League year.
“J.C. is a very athletic center who played in Green Bay and did a good job for them,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He had a little injury history, but comes here healthy and ready to go. We’re happy to have him.”
Although versatile, Tretter has struggled to stay on the field, playing just one full season, 2015, with the Green Bay Packers. Tretter did not play in a single game as a rookie and just eight during the 2014 season.
Following a full 16-game season in 2015, Tretter appeared in seven games last season.
Over his four-year career, Tretter made just 10 starts and played in 31 of a possible 64 games.
During Tretter’s one full season as a starter in Green Bay, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 347 of his 572 attempts for 3,821 yards and 31 touchdowns against eight interceptions, while the running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 1,358 yards and five touchdowns with an additional 580 yards and five scores catching the football out of the backfield.
Tretter joins an offensive line that was besieged by injuries, especially at the guard position, during the 2016 season.
Joel Bitonio played in the first five games of the season, but was forced to the sideline for the remainder of the year because of a Lisfranc injury in his right foot that required surgery in mid-October. Later in the year, guard John Greco suffered a similar injury.
Even when Bitonio was in the starting lineup, the Browns were without three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, both of whom left the organization in free agency for the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.
Last season, the Browns surrendered 66 sacks for 309 lost yards, and their top three starters suffered through at least 18 sacks each in limited play behind an offensive line that lost two starters, Bitonio and Greco, to injuries.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III missed 11 games because of injury, but still took a team-high 22 sacks for 138 yards, while rookie Cody Kessler endured 21 sacks for 140 lost yards and suffered a pair of concussions in a month. Veteran Josh McCown was sacked 18 times for 126 lost yards.
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