Desmond Bryant is done reflecting on the past. The veteran defensive lineman is soaking up the here and now as he goes through his eighth NFL training camp.
"My injury is behind me now," Bryant said. "Mentally, I'm getting prepared for these games, just getting myself ready to go. We have a little over a month now until we play the Steelers. It takes a lot to be ready for that, so that is why we have training camp and we are out here every day trying to get better mentally and physically."
Bryant has been back in Berea for a while now, participating in the team's OTAs and minicamp in a limited fashion. He went through most individual drills but was not on the field for 11-on-11 situations.
That's changed at training camp, and Bryant couldn't be happier about it. It's allowed him to take on the kind of leadership role he coveted entering the 2016 season before a pectoral injury derailed those plans.
"It is just something I have done for so long," Bryant said. "It has been such a huge part of my life for forever it seems like. Not being able to be out there was brutal."
Bryant, who led the Browns in sacks the last time he played in 2015, is a key figure in one of the toughest competitions up and down the Browns roster.
Cleveland has invested a lot of its draft capital in the defensive line, adding No. 1 pick Myles Garrett, third-rounder Larry Ogunjobi and sixth-rounder Caleb Brantley to a group that already included two high picks from last year -- Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib -- and three from the 2015 class -- first-round pick Danny Shelton, second-rounder Nate Orchard and third-round pick Xavier Cooper. Throw in solid veterans such as Jamie Meder and Cam Johnson and a rising, unheralded player such as Travon Coley, and it's clear nothing will be handed to Bryant.
Bryant, who has started every game he played since joining the Browns in 2013, has typically run with the second-team defensive line since the start of training camp.
"There is a great level of competition on the D-line," Bryant said. "There are a lot of guys in that room right now and there are only so many positions available on the 53-man roster. From top to bottom, everybody has been going out every day and competing for a job."
That's certainly included Bryant, who admitted he was hesitant to assert himself as a vocal leader in Cleveland's young defensive line room until he was able to prove himself on the field. That hasn't been an issue since the pads came on Saturday, and Bryant doesn't plan on letting up anytime soon.
He's making up for lost time.
"I felt like I had to go on the field and show and prove it," Bryant said. "We've had a couple of days of practice and I went out there and made some plays. I reminded the new guys here who I am now and I've been more vocal."