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OTAs & Minicamp

Nyheim Hines prepares for his return to the field for the 2024 season

Hines signed with the Browns as a free agent in the 2024 offseason

Hines Feature OTAs

RB Nyheim Hines stood on the sidelines in his No. 22 jersey and watched as his teammates participated in a series of drills during OTAs.

Hines continues to his recovery process from an ACL injury he endured before training camp in 2023. He had surgery to repair his leg in August and missed the entirety of the 2023 season due to the injury.

While he can't be out on the fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus practicing with his new teammates yet, Hines has his eyes set on the 2024 season for his return.

"You guys will not see me out here for OTA's during practice," Hines said on May 22. "I should be ready to go for minicamp. The goal is to be ready right around August 1 or end of July, depending on how my leg comes around. But the goal is to be out there for Week 1."

Hines is entering his sixth NFL season and has rushed for 1,202 yards on 306 attempts with 10 rushing touchdowns. He also has 240 receptions for 1,778 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He has also returned 89 punts with an 11.4 average and two touchdowns and 32 kickoffs for a 25.5 average with two scores. In 2022, he led the NFL with two kickoff return touchdowns.

The Colts first drafted Hines in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In the first four years of his career in Indianapolis, Hines established himself as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. He was then traded to Buffalo during the 2022 season and played nine games with the Bills.

Hines found other ways to impact the game in Buffalo on special teams, as he was a standout in kick return. His most impactful game came when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in their win over the Patriots on Jan. 8, 2023.

After Hines was released by the Bills on March 6, he signed with the Browns as a free agent.

As Hines considered where the next stop in his NFL career would take him, he relied on his connections to two coaches for the Browns, as well as a specific need they were searching to fill.

"I think it was a great fit just because of the passing game," Hines said. "I know that was something Cleveland was looking for, too, getting a back and getting guys who were explosive in space. And then the returner opportunity. The returners have been in and out – there's been a lot of different returners over the years, at least for the past couple years from what I've seen when we played them. And Bubba (Ventrone) was here. Bubba and Ken (Dorsey) are probably the two biggest reasons I'm here, so I'm thankful for that and thankful to be here."

The familiarity with the Browns' new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who was the offensive coordinator in Buffalo while Hines was a member of the Bills, can help Hines as he adjusts to a new team.

"It's so helpful when you're signing a guy that comes from a team where you have a coach on the roster, can fill you in on what that person's about off the field, how they are on the field and what they're like in the meeting room," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "So, Ken was able to give us a great picture of Nyheim and who he is as a person and a player. So, we're excited about his skill set. I think everybody's seen him over the years make a ton of plays."

Check out the action from practice at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus as the Browns go through organized team activities

Hines has experience of how Dorsey can help improve the offense, especially in the Browns' passing game in both the empty and explosive plays. He knows Dorsey to be aggressive when it comes to his offensive approach.

Hines also wants to show once again how much of an offensive threat he can be, both in the run and the pass game.

"I'm really excited to go out there and prove the offensive threat I am," Hines said. "And I'm just as big of a threat on offense as I am in the return game if it's passing, catching, kicking or in empty. So, I'm super excited to have the opportunity to prove to everybody what I can do on offense."

As Hines continues rehab and prepares to take the field once again in the 2024 season, he reflected on the past 10 months since the accident. It's also framed his outlook on how he views what is ahead of him.

"Ten months later, I processed what happened to me as not a blessing in disguise, but it's something you learn from. You learn how things happen, what you can do not to be in that position," Hines said. "Honestly, this is the hardest thing in my life, and I truly believe that everything is on the other side of hard, so this is the hardest thing in my life. So, if I can get through this hard part, I think the best times are coming for me."

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