A long four weeks became a long five for Denzel Ward as he waited an extra seven days before his official return to the field.
The wait ends Sunday when he's back on the field for the first time since Week 2 after dealing with a hamstring injury.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Ward after he wrapped up a full week of practice in Berea.
CB.com: How's it feel to finally get back on the field?
Ward: It's exciting. I'm enjoying being back with the team and I'm just ready to get out there and just have fun and do what I can to help my team pull out a win.
CB.com: What'd you learn about yourself during this process?
Ward: I was just looking forward to getting back and getting back with the guys. I was just getting my body back and ready for playing. I was preparing my body and building my body to get ready to play.
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Patriots Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey
CB.com: It was a weird situation where both you and Greedy Williams went down at the same time with the same injury. Did it help, though, to have someone to rehab with?
Ward: It's never good for any of us to be out and hurt, but we definitely kept each other in high spirits throughout the whole process. We just kept working hard to get back as soon as we could.
Ward: It says a lot about them. Those guys, they play well and did a good job. We've got depth at a lot of positions. That's the NFL. Next man up. Everybody's got to be ready to play.
CB.com: How much have you picked up from watching film during this period?
Ward: You get a lot better from watching film and just learning your opponent, studying your opponent, who you're going against and seeing their tendencies.
CB.com: What have you liked about this defense so far?
Ward: These guys just keep fighting throughout the whole game. The game's never over and these guys are going to never quit and keep working hard, try to pull it out.
CB.com: It seems like the secondary might be one of the deepest groups on the team. How much pride do you take in that?
Ward: We take a lot of pride in that. We've got a lot of talent on the team in general but it's not all about talent. We have to go out and do our job and be smart out there as well, not have any penalties or do anything to hurt this team.
CB.com: Do you like how the team came back from the bye?
Ward: I'm feeling good. It's my first time back with the team and practicing, but everyone seems ready to go and looking forward to the game.
CB.com: Even with the tough start, how much confidence are you seeing in the locker room?
Ward: It's a lot of confidence. I don't think any of these guys' confidence has been knocked down at all. We're right there. We've just got to finish these games and pull out the win.
CB.com: Does it just come back to consistency with this team?
Ward: It's just about learning from the mistakes we've made, the penalties we did and learning from them and getting better. Technique-wise, it's that, too, and working on it in practice and doing better in the game.
CB.com: What have you learned about the Patriots over the past two weeks?
Ward: It's going to be a challenge. They're a sound team technique-wise, they're well-coached, they've got talent on the team, they've got a great quarterback back there controlling it all. We've just got to come ready to play.
CB.com: What makes Julian Edelman tough for a cornerback?
Ward: It seems like he's a fighter. He's a shifty guy. He finds ways to get open. It's going to be a big challenge for us this upcoming game. We've just got to do our job to take him away.
CB.com: They added a receiver this week in Mohamed Sanu. Do you have to go watch his Falcons film to prepare?
Ward: You definitely watch his Falcons film and he's probably going to be in place of Josh Gordon, just seeing some of the routes they like to do. You definitely watch his film from the Falcons to see his releases and how he runs his routes.
CB.com: As someone who grew up watching the NFL, is it crazy to now game-plan for Tom Brady?
Ward: It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting. It's definitely someone I look forward to go up against. I'm just getting ready for the game.
CB.com: Since you've been here, some of this team's best efforts have been on the road. Why do you think that is?
Ward: I think we're all fighters. When everyone's against us, we like that adversity and going into a hostile environment to pull out a win.
CB.com: How big would a win in this environment be for this team?
Ward: It'd be huge. Each game is big so the next game we play is a big game. So each week is going to be big.