August 30, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
64°F

Browns: QB Tanney is signed

If the Browns ever need someone to throw a ball out of a window into the back of a moving pickup truck, they’ve got their man.

In the meantime, quarterback Alex Tanney is set to be the backup to Brandon Weeden on Sunday against Jacksonville.

Tanney (6-foot-3, 223 pounds) agreed to terms with the Browns on Tuesday. He had spent the first 12 weeks of the season on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys after they cut him at the end of the preseason. He went 40-for-73 for 423 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions during the preseason.

Because the Browns signed him off another team’s practice squad, Tanney must count against their 53-man roster for three games.

Tanney has never taken a snap in an NFL game, but gained notoriety for a trick-shot video he made while at Monmouth (Ill.) College. He makes a variety of difficult and interesting throws to a series of targets — including the moving pickup — and the YouTube.com video has been viewed more than 3 million times.

The Browns had only two quarterbacks on the roster since Brian Hoyer was placed on season-ending injured reserve Oct. 12 after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Adding another quarterback became a necessity when starter Jason Campbell suffered a concussion Sunday against Pittsburgh. He’s following the NFL’s concussion protocol and is unlikely to be cleared by Sunday.

That would leave Weeden as the starter and Tanney the backup — with less than a week to learn coordinator Norv Turner’s system.

“Thankful for everything the Jones family and Dallas staff has done for me,” Tanney tweeted. “Great organization. New chapter starts in Cleveland today #Browns.”

Tanney, 26, was undrafted in 2012 out of Monmouth and spent last season on Kansas City’s injured reserve with a finger injury. He set the NCAA record in all divisions with 157 touchdown passes and set the Division III record with 14,249 passing yards.

The success earned him a look with the Chiefs, then he did enough to stick around with the Cowboys. But he’s best known for the trick-shot video, which was inspired by one from Connecticut quarterback Johnny McEntee.

Tanney stands on the roof of a library, throws over a scoreboard and hits the crossbar. He hits the crossbar from his knees from 50 yards. He throws several balls into basketball hoops from across the gym, including a bank shot. He throws from an abdominal machine across the weight room into a trash can.

“Everybody’s like, ‘Is it fake?’” Tanney told the Los Angeles Times during training camp. “No. I’ve never even thought of it as looking fake because we actually did it. So when I watch the video, there’s nothing I see where you could say, ‘Oh, they edited a football in there.’ We didn’t edit a football in there.”

He also appeared on Stan Lee’s “Superhumans” on the History Channel, completing some amazingly accurate throws for the show that aired in the spring.

Caleb Hanie was scheduled for a workout with the Browns but won’t be signed. Hanie has started four games in five years, all with the Bears in 2011.

The Browns weren’t done making moves, as they continued to turn over the bottom of the roster.

They were awarded tight end Andre Smith (6-4, 270) off waivers from the Cowboys, and waived center Patrick Lewis and receiver Brian Tyms.

Smith, in his second year out of Virginia Tech, appeared in three games with the Cowboys this season and was inactive for eight.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.