While it didn’t come entirely out of left field, the Cleveland Browns’ long-awaited—though not necessarily long-anticipated—turnaround of last season is made all the more surprising when considering the amount of injuries that they had in the secondary, with all of their projected starters missing time, most with at least four games.
But they lost two projected starters for the entire season, and that includes former second-round cornerback Greedy Williams, who made a very promising combination with Pro Bowler Denzel Ward—a player who missed four games last season himself.
Williams suffered a shoulder injury a couple of weeks before the start of the regular season. In an injury that was initially characterized as ‘day to day’, he would experience ‘dead arm’, and would be shelved for the entire year, in the meanwhile weathering criticism from the uninformed accusing him of not wanting to play ‘banged up’.
Speaking recently to Cleveland.com, he said that the injury occurred in a contact drill that had escalated in intensity, with players delivering full-force hits. He attempted to do so himself against a running back whom he wouldn’t name, who proceeded to lower his head and run through his shoulder.
“I had never felt anything like it before,’’ he said. “I couldn’t move it, so that’s why if you see on the video I was carrying because I couldn’t feel my arm”, he said of the injury. “After like three or four days, it was still kind of numb and sore, so we waited for like a week or two weeks and it was still the same way”.
It wouldn’t be until the middle of the season that the Browns finally placed Williams on the Reserve/Injured List, as they continued to hold out hope that he would be able to return at any point. He underwent tests every couple of weeks to check if there was any progress, with round after round of disappointment and frustration.
That is around the time they finally gained a better understanding of exactly the nature of the injury. He suffered damage to the axillary nerve in his shoulder. He was given a timeline of six to 12 months in order for it to return to normal.
Even while trolls attacked him for not playing and question his heart, he was trying to convince his doctors that he could play with only one arm. It’s no surprise that they returned an unqualified dismissal. Had he injured the nerve again before it was fully healed, it could become permanent.
The Browns went on to have a very successful season without him, but now they are very excited to continue the turnaround with Williams back in the mix. He said that he is about 60 percent of the ay back from his nerve injury. Recent tests from the team’s medical experts showed as much. While he has been told that it will never be 100 percent again, he can get it close enough to resume his career. He still has plenty of time before training camp begins to get there.