The months of August and September haven't been kind to Barkevious Mingo since he joined the Browns, but he'll be the last one to bring it up.
Mingo wasn't in a sulking mood when he met with reporters Monday. He'd just wrapped up his first practice in nearly a month and had his eyes locked on Sept. 13, the day he hopes to make his 2015 debut in Cleveland's regular season opener against the Jets.
"Injuries happen. It's just up to the player on how they handle it," said Mingo, who has been sidelined with a knee injury. "You can sit in the back of the classroom and sulk and not pay attention to coaching points and not try to get better as fast as you can, or you can go out there and make sure you get those coaching points and you're pushing it in the training room and you're getting stronger and ready to play and prepare mentally as if you're going to play.
"I feel like I've done that and I'll be ready whenever."
Monday's practice was light and did not include contact, allowing Mingo to participate in most of it. Browns coach Mike Pettine didn't mention Thursday's preseason finale at Chicago when laying out a potential return date but said he's "truly on pace" to be back "potentially" for Week 1.
That's good news for the Browns' outside linebackers, who were without Mingo and rookie Nate Orchard on Saturday at Tampa Bay. Both could be back against the Jets, as Orchard's back injury is not believed to be serious, Pettine said.
If he's dressed out, Mingo expects to perform at a high level one year after he played with a significantly injured shoulder throughout the entire season. Revered for his coverage skills, Mingo, who had his 2013 rookie season dampened by a bruised lung, has said he hopes to show off more of the pass rushing skills he displayed at LSU but is comfortable with whatever the coaches want from him.
In two seasons, Mingo has 84 tackles, seven sacks and seven passes defensed. Mingo smiled and pretended to knock on wood when he was asked if he got his injury out of the way for the 2015 season.
"I know Year 2 (in Pettine's system) will be a better year definitely," Mingo said. "Knowing the defense and getting comfortable with the playbook and everything, knowing my role, I think this year could be a good one."