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Browns grab Stanford's all-purpose Marecic as Hillis' front man

The Cleveland Browns sought help on both sides of the ball in this year's NFL draft, so their selection of two-way Stanford player Owen Marecic could be just what the doctor ordered.

Marecic was the only player among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams to start on both sides of the ball in 2010 and once was described as "the perfectly engineered football player" by former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, now with the San Francisco 49ers.

Taken with the Browns' second fourth-round pick, Marecic played fullback and middle linebacker for the Cardinal and gives Cleveland an option at fullback in case the team doesn't re-sign the reliable Lawrence Vickers.

Marecic also could fill an inside spot in the Browns' 4-3 defensive scheme, but it's the notion of the 6-foot, 246-pounder blasting holes for 6-foot-1, 240-pound Peyton Hillis that might keep AFC North opponents up at night.

"I'm very, very excited to be a Cleveland Brown," Marecic told the team's official website Saturday, adding: "I always try to train to be a football player, but fullback may be the place I fit at home best."

Marecic said his playing both ways at Stanford was a coaches' decision: "That kind of came around my junior year. We were pretty thin at linebacker after a couple injuries about halfway through the season. I started to try to learn the defense and played here and there. We switched defensive coordinators for my senior season, and I spent all spring ball learning the new system."

Marecic's two-touchdown performance during a 37-14 victory at Notre Dame last season thrust him into the national spotlight. Marecic, in fullback mode, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter. Thirteen seconds later, Marecic -- at middle linebacker -- intercepted a pass from Dane Crist and returned it 20 yards for another score.

"It was a great, great game, very fun, and it was awesome to get a win over at Notre Dame," Marecic said. "I hadn't done that in my time. It was good to be a part of a team that could do that."

Marecic was given an earful about the Browns as a youngster, when former Cleveland linebacker Clay Matthews coached his Pop Warner football team.

"I know Clay is very, very proud to be part of the Cleveland Browns family," said Marecic, who remains close to the Matthews clan. "They're huge football fans and growing up, the tradition was always evident. Hearing about the team. I'm very excited to join that whole tradition."

Marecic said he is particularly close with Oregon linebacker and Philadelphia Eagles fourth-round pickCasey Matthews.

"We still keep in touch," Marecic said. "It's been fun, this process through the combine. We kept running into each other, and it's fun."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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