BEREA, Ohio -- “Why stop at 1,000 rushing yards?”

That is the question Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde posed when he addressed the media prior to Friday’s practice, and the fifth-year ball carrier is not just settling for 1,000 yards. Hyde has lofty expectations for himself heading into the 2018 season, his first with the Browns.

“I’d like to raise the bar a little higher than just 1,000,” Hyde said. “I want to aim for the top rusher in the NFL, not just 1,000.

“You can get 1,000 yards easy, just play every game. I think more than that, try to raise the bar higher and try to be the leading rusher in the NFL, so that’s my standard with it. But I guess it’s good to get 1,000 yards. It’ll be good for me. I’ve actually got a little bonus in there.”

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Over his 50 games in four years with the San Francisco 49ers, Hyde turned 655 carries into 2,729 yards and 21 touchdowns with 133 first downs, 15 20-yard rushes and three 40-yard bursts.

With the ability to break long plays down the field despite being labeled a “power runner,” Hyde believes he has the ability to be among the league’s best rushers, including Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley and another former Buckeye, Dallas Cowboys standout Ezekiel Elliott.

“If you look at those guys, those guys make a lot of explosive plays for their teams, so that carries on to more yards,” Hyde said.

“If you’re making explosive plays, that’s just more run plays being called. If you’re not down a lot of points, there’s more run plays being called. You just try to maximize the opportunities of the run plays being called, and then, that leads to more yards.”

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To be that elite-level running back, the 6-foot, 235-pound Hyde, a native of Cincinnati and product of The Ohio State University, knows a well-rounded game is a necessity, and he displayed plenty of ability to catch passes out of the backfield while in San Francisco.

During his time with the 49ers, Hyde caught 109 passes out of the backfield for 634 yards and three touchdowns.

“You know, I can catch the ball too,” Hyde said with a laugh. “I can do it all.

“I think it was just part of (Kyle) Shanahan’s scheme, just allowing the back to be more involved in the passing game. I think in this offense, it’ll be the same thing kind of, just be more involved in the passing game, get me out wide, get me in the slot sometimes, so it’ll be good.”

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Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde reaches to catch a pass in a drill during Organized Team Activities practice at team headquarters in Berea.
Matt Florjancic

Outside of an injury-shortened 2015 season, Hyde played in at least 13 games in three of his four years with the 49ers, and knows consistent productivity is a by-product of taking care of the body while away from the practice field.

“It’s part of the game,” Hyde said. “The injuries, they just come with the game. You try to stay away from them, but it’s just part of the game. You stay on top of your body. You understand your body. You understand how your body works, get your treatment, massages, whatever. Just stay on top of your body.”

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