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Rookie OL Shon Coleman healthy, ready to compete for starting job

Shon Coleman knows he might have to restrain himself Sunday.

The third-round draft pick watched from the sidelines throughout OTAs and minicamp as he recovered from a minor knee surgery. His motivation grew and grew as he spent his summer in Berea receiving the necessary rehab to get him ready for the start of training camp.

On Friday, Coleman participated in his first NFL practice, working at right tackle with the second-team offense. On Sunday, he'll don pads for the first time since he lined up with Auburn against Memphis on Dec. 30, at the Birmingham Bowl.

"My big thing is not to go out there and just get too wild," Coleman said after Saturday's walk-through. "Work my technique, have an awareness and understanding of the offense, and do what I got to do. It's very exciting, I mean it's been since late December since I put some pads on, so I'm pretty excited to be out there with the guys."

Coleman confirmed he's back to 100 percent health as he joins one of the more intriguing position battles on Cleveland's offense. With the departure of Mitchell Schwartz, who started every game the last four seasons at right tackle, the Browns are looking for a new face to anchor the right side of the line next to guard John Greco.

Free-agent signing Alvin Bailey, a four-year veteran who won a Super Bowl in Seattle, and fifth-round rookie Spencer Drango took the bulk of repetitions during the spring. Now Coleman has been added to the mix as Cleveland strives to get its best five linemen on the field for the Sept. 11 season opener at Philadelphia.

Coleman isn't fixated on the competition at this stage of camp.

"My goal is to get better," Coleman said. "Just go out here and let everything fall in place. Learn the offense, do whatever I can to make this team better. I still got to work my butt off just like everybody else is doing."

One thing that won't hold Coleman back is his knee.

Browns coach Hue Jackson stressed throughout camp that the team was exercising caution with Coleman, the team's second of three third-round picks. The Memphis native didn't spend much time in the South during the team's break, as he got to know his new surroundings well by making regular visits to the training room in the Browns facility in Berea.

Nothing was left to chance when it pertained to getting Coleman ready for the start of training camp.

"The medical staff here, man, they did a phenomenal job of laying out a plan for me over the whole summer," Coleman said. "I was here the whole summer, rehabbing and things like that. Just them doing that and them having a plan for me to be out here again, that's kudos to them. They did very well in helping me out with that."

Jackson has been happy to see Coleman in uniform and active but stressed caution would continue through the early part of camp.

"I think we have to be smart – because he is coming off of something that we want to make sure that he's out there and competing every chance he's there," Jackson said. "Obviously he's a good athlete – he's long, has long arms … there's some catching up he has to do, and we'll take the time to make sure that he gets there."

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