Sunday against the Falcons marked the first time Karlos Dansby has missed an NFL game since 2010. Dansby tested out his knee pregame and "rehabbed like a Vampire" during the week in order to suit up. In the end, he and the Browns training staff decided it was best for him to spectate from the sidelines.
Even though Dansby didn't take a snap, that doesn't mean he wasn't important to the Cleveland Browns' second straight road victory.
During pregame warmups, when the entire team all huddled up, Dansby was the player in the middle, barking out cheers to fire up his unit.
When safety Tashaun Gipson went down with a knee injury early in the fourth quarter, Dansby was running right behind the training staff to make sure his teammate was okay.
In the locker room after the game, coach Mike Pettine turned towards Dansby, motioning for the veteran linebacker to again break down the huddle.
"Hey men: that's a great team win," Dansby said in the middle of all of his teammates. "We believe in each other. We support each other. We fight for each other. The sky is the limit. It's our time, men. Our time on three. One, two, three: our time!"
After the win, guard John Greco said its players like Dansby who have helped push Cleveland over the hump and into relevancy with a 7-4 record headed into Thanksgiving.
"The guys that we brought in during the offseason; they all know how to win," said Greco. "They've been around winning programs. They've done an unbelievable job of bringing that chemistry and mindset into the locker room."
When some players are injured, they take a back seat, thinking they don't really have an impact on the game without being on the field. Dansby recognizes how much his teammates respect him and was still a leader without taking a snap.
Without being on the field, Karlos Dansby still "Played Like a Brown." His powerful messaging has younger and veteran players alike buying in. The words he speaks are a valuable asset to the organization.