Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor said his rehabilitation from torn pectoral muscle surgery is going great and he expects to play at some point this season.
But he intends to heed the words of wisdom from linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who missed 22 games in two years with pectoral tears
“Don’t come back too soon,” Jackson told Taylor.
Taylor dropped by the NFL Play 60 youth clinic at the Browns’ practice fields to visit with former Baylor teammate Robert Griffin III, who was among the NFC draft class of 2012 participating in the clinic. AFC draft picks hold a similar clinic on Friday.
Taylor tore his left pectoral (chest) muscle while lifting weights in the team’s offseason conditioning program on May 10.
Taylor said he was bench-pressing “300-something” pounds when he felt something, but “it didn’t hurt. I didn’t know what it was.” An MRI the next day revealed the muscle was torn. Surgery was performed on May 16.
Taylor said his current rehab consists of “range and motion stuff” and he has not been cleared yet to lift weights. The Browns will place Taylor on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp. He could be eligible to return to practice in October and conceivably could be back on the field in November – if all goes well.
“I’m itching to get back, but I’m not going to rush it,” Taylor said.
Although the Browns will audition rookie draft picks John Hughes and Billy Winn at Taylor’s defensive tackle spot next to Ahtyba Rubin, Taylor mentioned veteran backup Scott Paxson as the likeliest player to take his place.
“We won’t miss a beat,” Taylor said. “Paxson’s right behind me. He’s a great guy. He’s gonna be good.” Taylor added that Hughes and Winn “are gonna play a lot this year.”
Taylor said he was looking forward to his second NFL season because he felt he ended his rookie year a lot better than it started.
“In the beginning, I wasn’t playing so well,” he said. “Towards the end, I got better. I still have a long ways to go. I wanted to start off the way I ended last year.”
Taylor said the one lesson he learned as a rookie was “The NFL is really mental. If you don’t have that mental toughness, it’ll get you. Luckily, guys had prepared me for that.”
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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