On the eve of his senior season at TCU, Derrick Kindred was dealt a serious and oh-so-untimely blow.
The safety broke his left collarbone two days before the team's season opener against Minnesota and faced a handful of options that were, at best, less than ideal.
"Either I had surgery and sat out the whole year; get surgery, put a plate in there and sit out eight weeks or I could play the whole season with it," Kindred said on a teleconference shortly after the Browns drafted him in the fourth round.
The story of how Kindred decided on the latter of those choices is well-known. And following his first meeting with local news media members Friday, we have a better understanding of why the 5-foot-10, 210-pound thumper did what he did.
"It was really just for the love of the game, I love to play the game so much. That was my first serious injury and I really had to test myself and see how far I could really push myself," Kindred said.
"I felt like I learned a lot about myself doing that. I got to help my team out. I had to be a leader, I couldn't go down right before the games started. I had to do what I had to do to help my team."
He added: "At the time, I felt like the team needed me to step up and be a leader out there so I took the risk and took the chance of playing through it with it hurt."
In the end, Kindred's grit paid off. He finished with 87 tackles, 3.5 for loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups and was named a first-team All-Big 12 defensive back.
And now, Kindred brings that kind of mindset to Cleveland, where he and the rest of the Browns' rookies finished up a three-day minicamp Sunday, marking their first experience working with coach Hue Jackson and a new coaching staff.
"He's a guy that knows how to play the ball. He knows how to go make plays on the ball. He's a safety. When you watch him, the guy runs the alley and he goes and picks balls off," Jackson said of Kindred after the draft.
"We took players in specific areas where we needed some help, and we feel like these guys are going to make a real contribution to our football team."
Taking players with high character marks was also important. Asked whether he proved something to teams around the league by playing through injury, Kindred said, "I definitely think it did."
"I think it opened a lot of coaches' eyes. Every time I talk about it, they're like, 'You played with a broken collarbone? How did you do that?' It's crazy, actually. But I just had to push myself and that's what it's all about."
The rookies took to FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time.
But Kindred's all about business as the Browns continue their offseason workouts.
"The draft is over with now, it's all about getting better, winning and doing anything I can to help this team," he said.
For Kindred, that means adding depth to a defensive secondary that struggled last season and finding a spot on defensive coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4 defense.
"All he's interested in is winning and people doing their jobs and being accountable," Kindred said of Horton, who returns to Cleveland after two seasons with the Titans.
"That's a good start for me. That's exactly how it was back at TCU, I'm pretty familiar with that."
And the Browns are equally familiar with what Kindred brings to Berea, toughness included.
"He's got a well-rounded skill set from the safety position, athletic and fast enough to play from a deep half or roam the middle of the field as a post defender," vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said.
"He's also physical and tough enough to tackle with a broken clavicle through most of the year.
"It's incredibly impressive."