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Pinkston battles back from illness

Posted May 16, 2013

Browns offensive lineman Jason Pinkston was on the field for the start of the organized team activities after recovering from blood clots that cost him 10 games in 2012.

Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Jason Pinkston will forever remember the day of April 12, 2013 because it holds personal, as well as professional, meaning.

At 12:21 a.m., Pinkston’s first child, a daughter named Martha Jane after his late mother, was brought into the world at Fairview Hospital. Nearly nine hours later, Pinkston underwent a C.T. scan and was given a clean bill of health after he missed the final 10 games of the 2012 season with blood clots.

“I was up because we went into the hospital Thursday morning, and she was in labor all that day,” said Pinkston, who started all 16 games in his rookie season with the Browns in 2011. “Then, it went into Friday morning, and at 12:21, she finally came.

“I was at Fairview for the birth, and then, I had to drive down to the Cleveland Clinic. I got a C.T. scan at 9 a.m., and then, I met with the doctor. Later on that day, he called me and told me everything was great and I could go back to football.”

Pinkston played through the first six games last season, but was not feeling well before the Cincinnati game, so he was switched to a stronger antibiotic medication. However, while practicing for the Oct. 21 road game at Indianapolis, Pinkston was taken to the emergency room where his blood clots were discovered.

“The doctors said I could’ve died playing,” Pinkston recalled. “That was big, and not playing football was (too). There was a possibility when I first got diagnosed with blood clots, (doctors said), that ‘there could be a chance that you might not be able to play.’

“It’s amazing. It could’ve been close. All it took was for something to come up, and they could’ve said, ‘We’re not going to clear you right now.’ Then, I could not be playing right now.”

After spending six months on a medication called Coumadin, Pinkston was medically cleared to resume physical activity. Pinkston started to work out again, which continued this week when he was on the field for the Browns’ first three organized team activities at the Berea training facility.

“Some days when you come in here and you’re sore, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I’m so sore. I don’t want to be here,’” Pinkston said. “When I was off for those six months, man, that was the only place I wished I could’ve been. You never want to take anything for granted, that’s for sure.

“It’s early. I’m a little rusty. I’ve been laid up for a long time, but it’s starting to come back to me. I’ll have a couple good plays here, and then, I’ll make a dumb mistake, but it’s coming back. I’m a little limited, but I’m doing a good amount of reps.”

Pinkston overcoming the blood clots and making it back to the field was a welcomed sight for his teammates.

“I’m happy for him,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “He’s a tough individual for having to go through everything that he’s had to go through. You don’t wish that on anybody, but the way he’s bounced back has been pretty remarkable.”

Pinkston said he came into the organized team activities with the mindset of “just to get back in there and compete for a starting job.”

“I feel great now, no problems, no problems running, no nothing,” Pinkston said. “I’m just trying to get back into shape and get ready for a good season.

“With new coaches, everybody’s competing, so I’m just trying to get a starting job, get back in there and hopefully, run out of that tunnel opening day for the Browns.”

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