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Hue Jackson all smiles as Desmond Bryant returns to practice field

The sight of Desmond Bryant back out on the Browns' practice field on Wednesday afternoon was a welcomed one.

Bryant, who missed the 2016 season because of a torn pectoral muscle, returned to action for the first time in almost a year as Cleveland wrapped up Day 5 of OTAs.

Asked of that dynamic, head coach Hue Jackson nodded his head and described the veteran defensive lineman as "one of my favorites," referencing their 2011 season together in Oakland.

Because of that dynamic, Jackson and the Browns were once counting on Bryant to be a force on a youth-laden defensive line that struggled to consistently apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year.

"It was disappointing we did not have him this past year," Jackson said.  "I thought he was one of the missing links in our football team. He is a veteran player, knows how to play, extremely tough, extremely bright and loves football."

This time last year, Bryant -- who totaled six sacks and 33 tackles in 2014 -- had emerged as something of a leader before suffering the injury in June while working out on his own. As such, Jackson said the Browns will ease Bryant back into the swing of things over the next few months.

"He hasn't been around us. He is back in the weight room, back on the practice field working in individual and doing some things," Jackson said, "and we'll get him back to where he needs to be."

It was, however, still hard for Jackson not to imagine what his defensive line might look like this season with Bryant, 2015 first-round pick Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. Cleveland also features a linebackers group that includes Jamie Collins Sr., Christian Kirksey and Demario Davis.

"When I think of him and the rest of our front seven and potentially what it could be, that is exciting," he said.

"That is exciting because if he can go back and be the player that he was, it is going to give us a huge boost. We did not have him at all a year ago so I think he is going to be a good player for us." 

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