BEREA: Most people took Labor Day off, but Browns rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo returned to work.
Mingo practiced Monday and participated in individual drills after sitting out the past two weeks with a bruised lung. It was the first time Mingo practiced since his unusual injury was discovered Aug. 15 during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
A Browns spokesman said Mingo was limited in practice, meaning he likely did not participate in team drills.
Mingo declined to answer questions Monday in the locker room, and the Browns won’t make him available to the media until Friday. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski did not speak to reporters Monday.
Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, backpedaled, sprinted around cones and caught passes during a pass-coverage drill after warming up with the team and watching a punting drill from the sideline. He did not engage in contact during the 30-minute portion open to the media.
Mingo’s status for the Browns’ regular-season opener Sunday against the visiting Miami Dolphins is unknown. Last week, ESPN reported Mingo is unlikely to play in Week 1, but he’s probable for Week 2 Sept. 15 against the Baltimore Ravens.
“The main thing is his health,” inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “He’s dealing with something that I never had experience with. You want to be overcautious with something like that. It’s good to see him moving. Whenever we get him back, he’s going to be full steam ahead. He’s a smart guy, and he’s done everything right so far.”
Mingo, a backup right outside linebacker who’s expected to receive significant playing time this season in pass-rushing situations, did not travel to either of the team’s final two exhibition games. He started running and working out in the weight room last week, and Chudzinski said he responded well to those activities.
Jackson believes Mingo won’t miss a beat once he is cleared to play in games again.
“He’s ready to go,” Jackson said. “He’s the first-round pick. He wants to be out there to show guys that he can rush off the edge. We know how good he’s going to be and how good he is right now. The good thing about this team, we have guys who can step up while he’s out, so there’s no rush for him to get back.”
Medical personnel began examining Mingo on the sideline against the Lions because he said he was spitting up blood and experiencing shortness of breath.
Mingo was taken to the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus before the game ended and spent two nights in the hospital.
Mingo insisted he did not suffer any broken ribs. Mingo said he believes his lung was bruised during the opening kickoff against the Lions, but neither he nor the Browns have been able to identify one specific hit as the culprit. Despite the mysterious nature of the injury, Chudzinski said last week that the diagnosis for Mingo was still a bruised lung.
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