BEREA: The bar Jordan Leslie set for himself with his first NFL catch might as well be as high as the Empire State Building.

In Leslie’s regular-season debut, the Browns wide receiver jumped, extended his right hand over his head to corral a pass from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, then used both hands to secure the ball against his helmet and hold on as he fell. He did it all with Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin applying tight coverage.

It was a beautiful blend of Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous one-handed grab and David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

“Your first game and first catch, those are all things you’re kind of anxious for,” Leslie said Wednesday. “I would have never guessed my first catch in the NFL would be a one-handed catch, but it was and every catch from now is probably not going to look as spectacular.”

Leslie made the 26-yard catch at the Colts 2-yard line with 36 seconds left in the second quarter of the Browns’ 31-28 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. It set up Kizer’s 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end David Njoku.

“Obviously, it was a great play for our team and helped spark a touchdown,” Leslie said. “That’s the most important thing. I just want to help our team any way I can. But all the love I’ve gotten from it has been amazing.”

Leslie’s catch was No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays and No. 2 on the NFL’s top five catches of Week 3. His phone and Twitter mentions have been blowing up.

“It was phenomenal,” coach Hue Jackson said. “It should have made SportsCenter if you ask me. What a one-handed grab that took us down to the 2-yard line that led us to a score. These guys are coming in here and making plays, and that is what we want our receivers to do.”

Not bad for a guy who spent a couple of weeks sleeping on his surrogate brother’s couch in Chicago after the Browns waived him Sept. 2 during roster cuts. Jermaine Thomas, who lived with Leslie’s family in suburban Houston growing up, found Leslie a training partner in former Division II quarterback Jason Phillips while he awaited his next NFL opportunity. After receiver Corey Coleman suffered a broken right hand Sept. 17 against the Baltimore Ravens, another door opened for Leslie at Browns headquarters.

“To think that Jordan last weekend was sitting on his couch cheering us on and now he is out here making plays for us is awesome,” Kizer said. “We all know that he is a big-play guy. He is going to go out and he is going to work hard, and he is going to do whatever he can to keep the ball in his hands.”

Leslie excelled in training camp and the preseason — he had nine catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns — and thought he would finally earn a roster spot with his fifth NFL team in three years. He described himself as “devastated” when the Browns cut him.

“It’s just frustrating because you want to be that guy, you want to be that person making that play,” Leslie said. “I just used it as motivation. When I worked out, I was just thinking about all the times I’ve been cut and all the times I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough. That just motivates me to push myself to stay after it, to do everything I can to be a guy that a team wants to keep around.”

Leslie hopes to become more involved with the offense as the Browns (0-3) prepare for Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals (0-3). His circus catch came on his lone target.

“I think I can make a big impact,” he said. “It’s just all about opportunities, and when those opportunities come, making the plays I need to make.”

Approaching comeback

Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett may not be idle for much longer because Jackson provided a reason to believe the No. 1 overall draft pick could return in time to play Sunday.

“He’s close,” Jackson said. “I think there’s a chance he’ll practice this week before the week’s out, so we’ll see where we are after that.”

Jackson was asked if Garrett needs more than two or three days of practice to make a comeback.

“No, he just needs to practice,” Jackson said. “If he is able to play, we might not play him the whole game. So we’ll see how that unfolds if he’s able to go.”

In other words, Garrett could be used as a pass-rush specialist Sunday if he plays.

Garrett missed the first three games this season with a right high ankle sprain he suffered Sept. 6. He spent the half-hour portion of Wednesday’s practice open to reporters on a stationary bike. He has been running and doing agility drills since last week.

Bold predictions

Veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt said during training camp he thought Kizer is “going to be one of the great ones.”

Doubling down Wednesday, Britt said, “Still do.”

Asked what encourages him most about Kizer’s future, Britt answered the question, then made an eyebrow-raising claim about the offense’s potential.

“How [Kizer] takes the weeks after a loss,” Britt said. “He doesn’t take them very well. He wants to come in each and every day to get better. He is fighting to get better for himself and with the team.

“This offense has only been together since OTAs as a group and as a unit and really all together since the last preseason game. We are young within the offense, and we are still learning. We are going to be scary in November and December, and that is when the good teams get great to tell you the truth.”

Other injuries

Strongside linebacker Jamie Collins remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Jackson said. Collins has been out since he suffered a concussion Sept. 17 against the Ravens.

Britt (knee), receiver Sammie Coates (hamstring) and tight end Randall Telfer (knee) didn’t practice but rode stationary bikes. Jackson said Britt will return to practice this week.

Left tackle Joe Thomas (knee) didn’t practice, but it’s normal for him to take Wednesdays off.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com.