The morning after losing rookie defensive end Myles Garrett to an ankle injury, veteran left tackle Joe Thomas sat down for breakfast with the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick in an effort to help lift his spirits.
"It's just important that when you're a guy that wants to be out there so bad that you don't get discouraged," Thomas said. "And while I'm sure he's disappointed, I'm sure he's focused on getting back as soon as he can."
The Browns are taking a similar approach after Garrett, who was poised to make his debut against the Steelers this weekend, suffered a high ankle sprain in Wednesday's practice.
"Obviously, we would like to have him out there, but again, as I said several times before with not just his situation, these things happen in football," said coach Hue Jackson, who said Garrett got hurt when a teammate collided with his leg.
"He's one of our better players, and we wish we had them all out there, but we'll have him out there at some point in time soon. We'll go from there."
Jackson also emphasized he has no concerns about Garrett's durability after also suffering a lateral sprain on the opposite foot in offseason workouts.
"I know exactly how it happened. If you get somebody thrown into your leg, it could happen to any one of our guys," he said. "If you guys would have seen it, it could happen to anybody on our football team. It's just unfortunate it happened to a guy who we wish was out there all of the time."
As Garrett heals up, the Browns will look to a host of young players — including third-year defensive end Nate Orchard and second-year players Carl Nassib and Tyrone Holmes — to step up in his absence.
That, of course, is no small task considering how Garrett — almost unanimously viewed as the best overall player in this year's draft class — was expected to help boost Cleveland's pass rush in a major way.
"Obviously, it hurts when you lose a premier pass-rusher like Myles," Thomas said, "It hurts losing a guy that's that much of a game-changer."
"He's become one of the cornerstones of the defense, but in this game injuries happen," rookie safety and fellow first-round pick Jabrill Peppers added.
"Next man up. I know those guys are prepared. We are going to try a couple of different things and move about it that way. Injuries are something that occur in this league. Have to just let the guy get healthy, move on and execute the game plan."
And Garrett, who before his injury spoke of a team effort to slow down a high-powered Steelers offense led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, will have to put those aspirations on hold.
"I mean he's disappointed like any player would be, he was excited about starting his NFL career in the regular season and then this happens," Jackson said. "But his spirits were back up today. I think he understands where he is and he knows he's going to get back out there."
He added: "We just have to get beyond this, get him back out there and let him do what he came here to do."