It was Week 3 last season and the air was starting to turn cool at a Thursday practice in Berea.
After making some noise in training camp, undrafted rookie free agent Calvin Barnett found himself on the practice squad. Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil spoke about Barnett's potential as a run stopper down the road. Life was good.
Barnett was lined up at defensive end going straight at left tackle Joe Thomas. Barnett went down on a stunt and Thomas pulled out a crazy block technique, inadvertently chopping Barnett's shoulder.
"Those eight Pro Bowls really stood out that day," Barnett joked in good fun.
Season-ending shoulder surgery followed next for Barnett, who was moved from the practice squad to the injured reserve list. Barnett has played football since fifth grade and it was the very first time he's ever missed significant time because of an injury.
Barnett wasn't the only defensive lineman sidelined for the season. Nearly every day, he and Armonty Bryant (torn ACL) would rehab together in the training room, and often hang out and watch Browns games on together on Sundays. We detailed Bryant's rehab in this article, and Barnett said he's following the same path.
"I'm at 85 percent, I'm feeling real good," Barnett said. "I've been doing some lifting to get my strength back and the soreness is just about gone."
When Barnett was making a name for himself last spring in practice sessions, it was because of the defensive lineman's burst off the snap. He was aggressive going after offensive linemen until he heard the whistle. He was embodying "Playing Like a Brown."
"I know on a personal level I have to be more consistent," Barnett said Thursday at the Browns facility. "This league is about consistency. Whether you make plays or not, if you aren't doing it on a consistent basis, you're not going to last long."
Barnett's goal in 2015 remains the same: Prove that he's worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster and become a rotational defensive lineman capable of disrupting opposing offenses.
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What we wrote on Thursday
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Browns offensive coordinator discusses Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown. Read More.
Browns free agency breakdown: Linebackers/pass rushers. Read More.
Browns social media post of the day