Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah jokingly spoke with a raspy voice before fielding questions after Wednesday's walk-through.
That's how far the rookie LB has come from Sunday, when he spent time in a Los Angeles-area hospital after Sunday's loss to the Chargers because of a throat contusion. It was a precautionary visit that prevented Owusu-Koramoah from flying back with the team, and he was feeling fine Wednesday as the Browns geared up their preparations for their Week 6 matchup with the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
"(The injury happened) probably early in the game – probably near the first series," Owusu-Koramoah said. "Just my helmet kind of went into my neck and pushed it back a little bit. It was more precautionary after the game to go to the hospital and stay overnight, making sure that everything was OK, but I am good."
Owusu-Koramoah was certainly busy Sunday, as he played by far his most snaps of the season in Cleveland's 47-42 loss to the Chargers. He led all linebackers in snaps and had a spot in almost all of the different schemes Cleveland threw at Justin Herbert and the prolific Chargers offense.
The Browns have been adamant about not putting too much on Owusu-Koramoah's plate, and that was evident at the start of the season when he was limited to fewer than 25 snaps in the first few games. Now, the second-round rookie is getting harder and harder to take off the field because his trademark speed and closing ability aren't being impacted by the increased workload.
"I thought there were some good moments and some moments like all of our young players, he is trying to clean up a few things," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, "but he is battling."
The battle continues Sunday when Owusu-Koramoah will be a key part of the Browns' effort to slow down Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, one of the NFL's best dual-threat quarterbacks. Murray has been so effective as a passer that he hasn't had to run quite as much as he has in previous years, but the threat is always there.
"You really spy on the entire offense," Owusu-Koramoah said. "They have a very electrifying offense. It is going to be a tough task, but again, we are looking at the smallest details of it, focusing on us and being able to execute as best as we can."
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Arizona Cardinals
The Browns were without nine key players when they held their first practice of the week, a group that included RBs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (wrist/knee) and DE Myles Garrett (knee/ankle).
Stefanski said he was not in position to rule out any of the players yet for Sunday's game.
"I do not think we are being cautious with any of our guys," Stefanski said. "I just think we are trying to be smart about it."
On a positive note, T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and CB Greg Newsome II (calf) were limited participants after missing Sunday's game in Los Angeles. So, too, did CB Denzel Ward (neck), who was sidelined for the majority of the game.
WR Jarvis Landry (knee) ran off to the side while the Browns practiced. Because Landry has already missed three games, he would be eligible to return before Sunday's game, but the Browns have not yet designated him for return from injured reserve.
"He is going to do some work today and we will see where it goes," Stefanski said.
Schwartz on Kicks
The Browns have utilized rookie WR Anthony Schwartz on kickoff returns the past two weeks, giving Schwartz an opportunity he's discussed ever since he was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The former Auburn star never returned punts or kicks during his college career but has always presented an enticing option because of his world-class speed.
Schwartz had plenty of opportunities Sunday and now has six returns on the season. He's averaging 22.5 yards per return with a long of 30.
"We think he is a fast guy with the ball in his hands," Stefanski said. "That is a situation where if you get a crease in those returns, he can hit it. We feel really comfortable with Demetric Felton back there. We have D'Ernest Johnson that can do that job and have Anthony Schwartz. We kind of have a few guys who we really trust back there."