Cleveland Browns receiver Corey Coleman’s already banged-up body is concerning as he moves into a potential breakout sophomore season.
After taking a “huge spill” as Hue Jackson characterized his falling onto the football after a catch attempt during the team’s first week of OTAs, Coleman has been held out and could potentially miss the team’s upcoming mandatory June minicamp as a precaution. That means he’ll miss most of OTAs, minicamp and will be off the field until training camp in July.
The reason given for his absence may differ depending on the source, but Coleman could potentially also be dealing with a sore hamstring according to reporting by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.
It’s all there, in layers, an unfolding docudrama of one man’s body’s propensity to break down at the most inoportune moments. And it’s hardly an isolated situation since Coleman was snagged by the Browns in the first round of last year’s draft.
The litany of overall injuries he’s sustained is a growing list that includes multiple hamstring ailments that have caused him to miss significant playing and practice time at both the collegiate and professional levels.
Missing time in college while playing in Baylor’s cookie-cutter offense didn’t seem to hamper him as his career progressed there, but it’s a different story with the level of complexity of the NFL. It’ll be hard for him to take advantage of the massive opportunity awaiting him if he can’t shake these problems during preseason and enter the 2017 season with a clean bill of health.
And it’s important he does because his hype couldn’t be higher for his sophomore campaign despite his rocky rookie season. That season saw him haul in just 45.2 percent of his targets, fourth worst in the NFL for receivers with 50 or more targets. Now, those struggles can partially be attributed to him missing six weeks after a breakout two touchdown performance in Week 2, and maybe blamed a little bit on the Browns’ annual quarterback carousel, but his play surely wasn’t an encouraging overall body of work.
Opportunity is knocking now, loudly, given the Browns offense’s abundance of missing targets from last season. They’ll have to delegate 276 targets that were lost from a season ago after Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge and Andrew Hawkins were all not retained.
Jackson has said he’s expecting Coleman to be “the guy” and to live up to his draft stock. So having him on the field to learn is crucial entrance criteria for him to even sniff becoming that type of player this season.
NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah also talked him up and spoke a little about his expectations for him on Episode 186 of his Move the Sticks podcast hosted by NFL.com.
Jeremiah’s qualification — “provided he stays healthy” — is the same disclaimer I’m going to leave you with. And although it may be way too early to be worried about injuries affecting him this season, a trend does exist, and that trend coupled with recent developments is certainly something to pay attention to as summer turns to fall and pads are donned.
It’s not fair to label him “injury prone” per se, not yet, but trends don’t lie.
Jackson and his staff could very well be happy with Coleman’s progress and are tracking diligently on his injury history. That understanding would make sense given the precaution they’re showing with him at this early point in their offseason program.
Having him healthy and ready to go full speed in training camp should be their utmost priority, and we’re still on track for that. So while it’s OK to be concerned, no one needs to panic just yet.