The Cleveland Browns used their top pick—a second-rounder—in the 2019 NFL Draft in order to select cornerback Greedy Williams because they believed that he would be an instant starter. He was, but a significant nerve injury in his shoulder prevented him from playing at all last year. He continues to work through it, though he is expected to play this year.
“It is a process. Go out to rehab, trusting my people and trusting the guys here just to keep rehabbing and working up to the part where I trust it again”, he told reporters yesterday. “Just having a strong team behind me, and we are pushing it every day to get better and get back out there”.
Rehabbing a nerve injury can be very complicated and harder to predict. His doctors have indicated that his shoulder will probably never be 100 percent where it was before the injury, but can reach a point that allows him to play football.
But his return does not grant him a free pass back into the starting lineup. The Browns used a first-round pick this year on cornerback Greg Newsome II. Coupled with the signing of Troy Hill in free agency, he will have to compete just for a role in the defense, let alone a starting job, with Denzel Ward already secured on one side.
“We are just going to do what we do”, Williams said about competing this offseason. “Greg is a great kid, nice footwork and smart. I am happy for him. First round, came here and came to an up-and-coming franchise. I am happy for him. I am happy for this team and happy for the organization. I am just ready to get to work with my brothers and put the work in”.
That is the right attitude to take, I think, though it’s hard to publicly hold any other position. I suppose he could have said that it was his job and that he plans on taking it back without ruffling too many feathers, but he’s putting a team-first mentality first—even to the point of addressing the cornerback position in the first round.
“I feel like the team made a great decision on what they need”, he said. “Last year, we were lacking at depth in cornerback. Just trusting [Andrew] Berry and the coaching staff and the organization to build a great team that will give us a chance to compete for that trophy”.
Just another way of saying ‘that’s above my pay grade’, which is fine. But the long and short of it is that, not only is he battling his own body in rehab, he will also have to fight just to have a defensive role this season amidst Ward, Hill, and Newsome.