The Cleveland Browns start training camp next week with all kinds of excitement. For the first time since he came over along with Odell Beckham Jr. in a trade from the New York Giants two years ago, Olivier Vernon won’t be the team’s starting edge rusher across from Myles Garrett.
Vernon had an interesting two years with the Browns, putting up 12.5 sacks including nine last year. He was stout against the run and pressured the quarterback regularly. While injuries limited him to 24 out of a possible 32 games for the Browns, Vernon’s steady hand on the defensive line was helpful.
With fellow veteran Sheldon Richardson cut and Vernon a free agent, the Browns brought in Malik Jackson to help field that experience void.
Unfortunately for Vernon, his season didn’t end on a high note. Tearing his Achilles in the final game of the regular season, the almost 31-year-old has a long rehab back if he wants to play this season in the NFL.
Achilles injuries are not uncommon in pro sports, as the recent Cam Akers news shows. This kind of injury can significantly impact on a player’s ability if/when he returns to the field. Cleveland is hoping Grant Delpit can return from his Achilles tear that kept him out all of his rookie season.
Vernon is rarely active on either Twitter or social media but posted a picture of him standing back in May. Perhaps he is doing well in his rehab but one picture hardly tells the story:
With the addition of Takk McKinley, Jadeveon Clowney and Curtis Weaver, the Browns defensive end room has filled up but there is always room for more talent there. If Vernon is looking to return this season, and beyond, Cleveland may be the best place for him to do so.
For 2021, the Browns could benefit from a late-season jolt to the defensive line but there is little certainty he will be physically ready for Week 17 or 18 and a playoff run. If he is, a return to Cleveland could fit perfectly.
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