Joe Haden met with reporters on a hot and humid afternoon with sweat dripping down his face. The veteran cornerback has been hard at work as the Browns open training camp Friday afternoon.
And Haden, who underwent ankle surgery in March, is almost ready to make his return to the field.
"I've been working hard, I've been here the whole offseason and the training staff, we've been doing a really good job and we have a really good schedule and just getting better every day," he said.
Haden reiterated he expects to play in the Browns' season opener against the Eagles on Sept. 11, and, in an ideal world, would even welcome the prospect of seeing reps during preseason games. On Thursday, he particiapted (and completed) the team's conditioning run.
"He's chomping at the bit. We have to kind of put our arms around him and slow him down a little bit because he's ready to get back out there, and he's close, very close," coach Hue Jackson said Thursday.
"I'm excited about getting him back out there with our football team and playing, but he's done an outstanding job of getting himself healthy. We have a little ways to go, but I think he's close. I'm excited to watch him once he gets an opportunity to get back on the field."
The Browns took to the practice fields for their mandatory conditioning run on Thursday evening.
After all, Haden said he's eager to return to form after a disappointing 2015, when lingering injuries kept him off the field for much of the season.
"It's really a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and you can kind see that it was a very bad season for me last year," Haden said.
"I had high expectations for myself and I definitely didn't live up to them. So I'm just ready to get back out there and prove that I'm still one of the best corners in the league."
Right now, that mission starts in the training room. Pretty soon, Haden said, it'll take its course on the field.
"Whenever they say I'm ready to go," he said, "I'll be out there."