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Pinkston 'excited' to start again

Posted Dec 15, 2013

Offensive lineman Jason Pinkston is “excited” about his opportunity to start at left guard against the Chicago Bears.

The Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff had planned to cycle offensive lineman Jason Pinkston into last Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, but Pinkston got more action than even he could have expected.

After rotating with Shawn Lauvao at right guard, Pinkston was inserted into the lineup at left guard when veteran John Greco suffered a sprained knee, an injury that will keep him out of today’s home finale against the Chicago Bears. Pinkston will now make his first NFL start since last October.

“I’m pretty excited,” Pinkston said after Friday’s practice. “This is my first time in a long time doing this, coming back home and playing.

“I get to play. That’s all that matters. It just gives me a chance to get back out there, so it feels pretty good.”

Getting on the field in limited duty during the rotation, and later, for the duration of the second half after Greco’s knee injury meant everything to Pinkston, who missed 10 games last season because of blood clots and the first half of this year after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the preseason win over the Detroit Lions back in August.

Prior to the blood clots, Pinkston had made 22 consecutive starts at left guard after joining the Browns as a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

“It was exciting,” Pinkston said of playing again. “I knew I was going to rotate in, and then, John went down. It was unfortunate, but I got to go in. I was just excited to play. It’s been over a year.

“It is (emotional) because I haven’t played in so long. It’s been so long. Especially, something you love and you have a chance of losing it, it’s emotional when you get back.”

Seeing Pinkston return to the field was emotional for his coaches as well.

“It’s been a long road, a tough road for him going back to the embolism and then, getting back to the point in training camp where he was getting better,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “You could see him start getting back to normal and then, he has the high-ankle sprain. We’ve got him back, and he’s been through a lot with that.

“I’ve really been impressed with his attitude, how he’s worked in the weight room, all the extra things, the rehab. He was in there nonstop and in the game, he was excited about playing again. I feel good for him and he did a good job last week.”

While he was excited to return to the field, Pinkston knows this is only the start of his NFL return.

“I thought I did pretty good in the pass game,” Pinkston said. “In the run game, I really didn’t help myself that much or the team. That’s just from being out and not really doing it as much. I’ve been working on it this week, so it should be better.

“I feel pretty good. My legs are okay. I haven’t really done too much hitting or practicing because I was out for a long time. It’s going (well).”

In addition to Greco, the Browns have deactivated running back Willis McGahee (concussion/knee), tight ends Andre Smith (calf) and Keavon Milton, quarterback Alex Tanney, and offensive lineman Martin Wallace and Reid Fragel for today’s game against the Bears.

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya will start in place of McGahee.

The Bears will be without the services of quarterback Jordan Palmer, safety Sean Cattouse, linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive tackle Christian Tupou, tackle/guard James Brown, tackle Jonathan Scott and defensive end Cornelius Washington.

Khaseem Greene will start at weak-side linebacker in place of Briggs, who will miss his seventh straight game because of a shoulder injury.

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