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Gipson back in the secondary

Posted Dec 29, 2012

After being injured in last Thursday’s practice, Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson has returned to the field and is listed as the team’s starter at free safety.

Undrafted rookie free agent Tashaun Gipson, who made the Cleveland Browns’ roster out of training camp in August, was slated to make his third career start in last Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. However, a foot injury in Thursday’s practice prevented him from making the trip to Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

After missing last week’s game, Gipson returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and was a full participant both Thursday and Friday. He is listed as the starting free safety for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, after the Browns placed safeties T.J. Ward and Usama Young on injured reserve in back-to-back weeks.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are ready to step up and that are ready to play,” Gipson said. “It’s super important. Coming in as a young guy trying to establish myself, it’s definitely huge. It’s huge for a lot of guys that are stepping up.

“I’ve been playing a lot throughout the season, but this is another thing, getting that start this week and playing every snap, like I did at Oakland. It’s different on the psyche, so I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s a blessed opportunity and I’m thankful for it.”

This season, Gipson has registered 23 total tackles, including 18 solo stops, and intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards. For his efforts on the field and in the classroom, Gipson has drawn rave reviews from the team’s coaches, specifically head coach Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron.

“It’s huge for the confidence anytime you get guys who have been around the game -- Coach Jauron has seen countless players come in and out of football Coach Shurmur as well,” Gipson said. “It’s huge for me as a young guy, a 22-year old rookie. It’s encouraging. You’ve got to take it stride, build on it and never get relaxed. I’ve just got to continue to move forward and that’s what I’m going to do. Those words are encouraging. I’m going to try and build off of them as well.”

When describing what makes Gipson an impact player in the secondary, both Jauron and Shurmur have talked about his instincts and ability to improve.

“I prided myself on having great instincts coming into college,” Gipson said. “Playing corner, you’ve got to have great instincts. I never really played safety in college, except for about seven games. I was naturally a corner at heart, so I felt my instincts would just fit where I was needed.

“In this defense, I found my living and I found my making playing alongside T.J., Joe (Haden) and Sheldon (Brown), fitting off of those guys, those characteristics and just blending into the defense. Whatever was asked upon me, whether I was coming downhill to make tackles, being in coverage or whatever the case may have been, I just felt like I’m a versatile player, so I definitely can get the job done.”