As families and friends come together today to celebrate Thanksgiving, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman
At this time last season, Pinkston was not studying scouting reports or watching film of an upcoming opponent. Rather, he was in the hospital fighting blood clots that had developed and manifested themselves in the form of flu-like symptoms in the team’s 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 14, 2012.
Pinkston tried to play his way through the game and week of practice that followed, but was sent to the hospital when he was not getting better and that’ s where the blood clots were discovered.
“I’m very thankful,” Pinkston said. “I was at a point in my time where I was kind of questioning and going through the blood clot. ‘Was it going to clear? Was I going to be able to play?’ I’m very thankful, one, to be alive, and two, to be able to play football and be back here, and be healthy again.
“My girlfriend, at the time, was pregnant with our daughter, so there was a lot going through my head. ‘Was I going to be okay? Was I going to be able to play? Am I going to be able to take care of my family?’ It was a lot. It was tough, but I just tried to stay positive. I had my teammates’ support, the coaches’ support, so that was big.”
During that time in the hospital and at home while waiting for his blood clots to be dissolved, Pinkston said the support from his family meant “just everything” to him.
“It was tough on them too because they kind of look at me as their motivation,” Pinkston recalled. “I was one of the guys, out of my brothers, that graduated college and made it to the pros. My girlfriend, she spent every night in the hospital with me. That was a lot of support from them, and that made things a lot easier on me.”
Although it was not an easy fight, Pinkston was able to recover from the blood clots and return to football activities in the spring.
“There was no hesitation because once it was over, I felt good again,” Pinkston said. “My mind was at ease, and the first time I ran out of the tunnel, when we were playing St. Louis at home, I was crying the whole pregame. It was a great feeling.
“It means everything. This is a great place. This place is going to go up. We’re going to have a great team here for the next couple years, and it’s just exciting to be back out there with the guys I came in with and just to play again.”
In addition to his health and the support he received from family and friends, Pinkston is thankful for his daughter, Martha Jane, who was born last April and is named after his late mother.
“That was definitely huge,” Pinkston said. “She was born on a Friday, and that Saturday, I got cleared. It was really good. Everything was looking really good, and that was huge. I got a lot of motivation from that.”
Pinkston said he gained motivation from the birth of his daughter and return to the field, but what he also gained was a greater appreciation for the gifts that he has been given, and he is not about to forget the setbacks he has had to overcome since joining the Browns in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
“You just can’t take anything for granted,” Pinkston said. “When people say, ‘This could be your last play,’ it could’ve been my last play against Cincinnati or my last practice. It really doesn’t hit you. It’s something you don’t think about until you’re in a situation where something could possibly be really wrong.”