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Training Camp

Danny Shelton says Desmond Bryant, despite injury, remains leader on Browns D-Line

Danny Shelton has been busy this offseason.

The Browns' second-year nose tackle spent his time away from Cleveland training for the upcoming season in California. He's also helped orchestrate a jersey signing at Wayside Furniture in Akron to honor his fans after switching from No. 71 to No. 55. Shelton also got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Mara, and, in the process, surprised her with a new puppy.

So when he and his teammates learned veteran defensive end Desmond Bryant would be out for much of the season after pectoral surgery, it was a dispiriting turn of events amid so many other personal highs over the past few two months.

But Shelton expects Bryant to be every bit the leader from the sidelines as he was expected to be on the field this year.

"It hit us all pretty tough but at the same time, Des, he's a guy who's going to lead no matter what. And you know, he sent out a group text and let everybody know when it happened. He let us know that he's going to be around to help us with anything," Shelton said Monday on Cleveland Browns Daily.

"That's just the type of player he is, he's going to be a guy that's going to face adversity and also overcome it."

Shelton will also play a role in helping the Browns defensive line mitigate Bryant's absence. The 2015 first-round draft pick has set his sights on becoming an impact player on a defense that struggled to stop the run last season.

"I'm excited for this year because (defensive coordinator) Ray Horton and (first-year defensive line coach Robert) Nunn, they're both giving me the opportunity," he said in May. "They're saying the opportunity's there and all I have to do is step up and take that spot."

The Browns took to the field to finish the three-day veterans' minicamp.

Cleveland will also rely on players such as John Hughes III, Xavier Cooper, Jamie Meder, rookie Carl Nassib and Nick Hayden, whom the Browns signed Friday to provide the room with depth.

Bryant — who was seemingly poised for a big season after leading the Browns with six sacks in 2015 — spoke of taking on a leadership role this year under head coach Hue Jackson, whom he played for in Oakland in 2011.

"This is a young man that worked extremely hard this offseason to prepare himself for the 2016 season. He really bought into our coaching, our team-over-self-philosophy and was intent on becoming a leader for our team," Jackson said, adding, "we all understand that injuries are part of this profession and as a team you have to find a way to overcome them."

And Shelton said Bryant isn't about to let an injury interfere with those plans.

"It's just pretty awesome to have that type of leader in the D-line room and on the defense," Shelton said, "and so I'm just excited to see how this season goes, excited to see how other players step up and help us out."

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