Injuries cost Joe Haden most of his 2015 season.
Now, the Browns cornerback is determined to not let a pair of groin injuries hold him back this year, saying he's hopeful he'll be able to return to the field against Cincinnati this weekend.
"That's the goal," Haden said Thursday. "I'm trying to do whatever I can to get out there, but it just is what it is. I can't really control how that feels, but my goal is to be out there on Sunday for sure."
Haden, who missed last week's loss to Tennessee and hasn't practiced yet this week, said he's in "strict rehab right now" in hopes of testing his ability to run in the coming days. It's still unclear if he'll be able to play against the Bengals and an offense that includes All-Pro receiver A.J. Green, but head coach Hue Jackson said he's optimistic about Haden's chances of suiting up.
Jackson said on Wednesday it's one of his policies to have players do some sort of workout to prove they're game-ready. That, of course, includes Haden and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who is hoping to overcome a hamstring injury.
"If they can't run, they won't be able to play," Jackson said. "They are running all the time and breaking and starting and re-stopping and all that. We have to know for sure. I will not dress a guy who I think cannot contribute to our football team in some positive capacity."
When Haden's been healthy, he's done just that. After ankle surgery in March, he worked through an extensive rehab program with the help of the Browns training staff in order to prepare himself for the season opener.
Haden indeed played that game against the Eagles and looked like his Pro Bowl self a week later against the Ravens when he picked off Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco two times.
Haden, who said he's never injured his groin before, expressed his disappointment in watching Cleveland's struggles from the sideline.
"It's very, very, very, very frustrating knowing you're especially 0-6, got a young team, got a bunch of guys that I know look at me as a leader and I want to be out there playing with them, I want to be out there doing as much as I can but when freak stuff happens that you have no control of it just sucks," he said.
"It's very, very tough just being a competitor and being the person that I am I want to be out there and lead by example and show them, being in these tough times, this is when you need your leaders the most to be out here and show them what it's really about and trying to get these victories, it's just frustrating."
To be sure, Haden said he's far from discouraged by these early setbacks.
"I feel like this is just a little minor things that I'm going to get fixed and be able to get out there and write my own 2016 season and how I want it to play out," he said.
"I feel like I still have a lot of time, we still have 10 games ahead of us, we've still only played one division game this year. So we've still got a lot to shoot for and I'm just trying to do whatever I can do get back out there and make this season a successful season."