BEREA - If John Greco wasn't an offensive lineman for the Browns, he probably would make a good handyman.
If there's a need to plug at leak at guard, Greco's your guy. If there's a breakdown at tackle, simply call on Greco.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur needed Greco's help last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals when starting left guard Jason Pinkston took himself out of the game because of an illness. Greco played parts of the first half and was on the field in the second half when backup running back Montario Hardesty sparked the ground attack.
Shurmur will ask even more of Greco this week now that Pinkston has been ruled out with a blood clot.
"I thought he (Greco) did a good job," Shurmur said. "He's a role player, much like Montario Hardesty, that had to go in and play and play more of a role in that game.
"We'll just keep using him that way. He's ready to play guard, or we can put him in at tight end a little bit in certain situations and he can play center. I've seen him play tackle and have winning performances, so he just needs to keep grinding like the rest of the guys."
Wearing many hats is fine with Greco, who graduated from Boardman High School and played at the University of Toledo. It's provided him with employment since he was selected in the third round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams in 2008.
"You always have to be ready," Greco said. "It was a good opportunity. I thought I made the best of it, and the team got the win at the end. That's all that matters."
The Browns had struggled to get rookie running back Trent Richardson going for close to three quarters. When Richardson began feeling soreness in the area of his rib cage as the result of a hit in the first half, he pulled himself from the game.
Enter Hardesty, who hadn't taken a snap all season. With fresh legs and a desire to prove that he's well beyond the injuries that have curtailed his growth, Hardesty rushed for 56 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.
"As a whole group the offense was feeding off the defense's excitement and energy, and the special teams were playing well," Greco said. "We were just hungry for our first win. We had everything rolling."
Pinkston is in his second year as the starter after being thrust into the lineup as a rookie last season when Eric Steinbach went down with back surgery. The coaches like Pinkston's strength and pass-blocking skills, but he's not adept at pulling to the outside.
Greco is the ultimate team player. He'll do whatever is asked of him, even if it means standing on the sideline in a support role.
"I did well enough to help the team win," Greco said. "That's all I can say. We enjoyed that and now we're moving forward. Indy is a very good team, and that's where our focus is."
Shurmur's ties with Greco go back to his days as the Rams offensive coordinator. Shurmur was pleased when general manager Tom Heckert was able to acquire Greco in a trade with the Rams last year in exchange for a 2012 draft choice.
The trade has worked out well for Greco, who gets to play much closer to his hometown. Like every NFL player, he would like to eventually start more games (he has four career starts).
"Everybody wants to be a starter," Greco said. "Right now that's my fit, being inside as a swing guy. All I can do is do everything I can to try to break into the starting lineup. I have to be ready for everything."