CLEVELAND -- Desmond Bryant has had his fair share of injuries and health crises since joining the Cleveland Browns in the lead-up to the 2013 season, but the veteran defensive lineman has recovered enough from those issues to resume his football career.
Bryant was excited to get back onto the field for minicamp, and is very much looking forward to the start of training camp next month.
“Man, it’s an amazing feeling,” Bryant said. “I was away from this game I feel like for too long, but that is part of the game. You get injured, and it’s about how you respond and get back. I have been fortunate enough to get into a position where I am back out there with my dogs.”
Bryant suffered a torn pectoral muscle during an individual workout in mid-July last summer, and had surgery to repair the damage, the recovery from which was expected to take “a significant amount of time.”
According to a press release from the Browns at the time of the injury, the rehabilitation period made it “unlikely” that Bryant would return for any part of the 2016 season, and he indeed did not play in a single down of football last year.
“I feel great,” Bryant said. “My body feels great. One of the unforeseen benefits of kind of not playing last season is I got a chance to kind of heal up the rest of my body, as well. I really do feel great. I am looking forward to the rest of this offseason, preseason and we will get going.”
Bryant was the Browns’ leader in sacks during the 2015 season, but it was a different type of leadership that the eighth-year pro was hoping to exhibit in training camp last year.
Now that Bryant is back, he is looking to make an impact, both on the field and in the locker room.
“It’s huge to me,” Bryant said. “When I came into the league, everybody on the D-line was five years plus. Guys like Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly had been around forever. They really helped me to be able to still be standing here today.
“I realize the value in that, and I’m here to help make my team better. If I can take some of those guys under my wing and kind of coach them up, teach them a few things that I see differently than what they might be seeing right now, if I am able to do that, we will be a better team, and that’s great for us.”
Bryant is especially looking forward to leading a young group of defensive linemen into the 2017 season under the guidance of position coach Clyde Simmons and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“There is a tremendous amount of potential for our defensive line,” Bryant said.
“We are going to have to figure things out and figure out how to kind of work together to get the mission accomplished, but I think Clyde is doing a great job of that and Gregg and really the entire defense, we are really starting to flow together on the same page.”