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Desmond Bryant returns to the first-team defense for Browns

A year after his devastating injury, Desmond Bryant is ready to be the leader of the defensive line.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Training Camp Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

You can never put 100% faith in a player’s job security based on the depth chart. When you think back to last year, Paul Kruger was a “starter” throughout all of camp, yet he was shown the door in a surprise cut. This year, the story seems to be different for defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, who head coach Hue Jackson always has positive remarks for.

Prior to practice starting, Bryant was one of four Browns players interviewed by the local media. He's been through many training camps before, so this is nothing new to him. He said his injury is behind him, so now he’s just mentally getting ready for in-game action. As far as playing for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Bryant talked about his nastiness and attitude that permeates through the rest of the defense:

Bryant also said that Williams holds players to a higher standard than he’s seen in all the coaches he’s had, and that players are buying into that. During Day 6 of practice, Bryant started working with the first-team defense, the same day that rookie defensive end Myles Garrett also joined the starters. It’s a tale of two different stories, for sure, but Bryant is trending in the right direction, and Jackson said after practice that he looks like the old Desmond Bryant and has worked himself up to where he needs to be:

“He is Des Bryant, no doubt. He is just another guy that needed to get in shape, get back to the grind of playing and understanding our defense because it is different. Those guys are doing a good job over there. There is no question about that.”

But even for the veteran, making the roster will not be a cake walk — but he’s gone on the fast track to showing the youngsters who he is so that he can reclaim the veteran leadership role he was expected to take on a year ago before his season-ending injury.

“There is a great level of competition on the D line,” said Bryant. “There are a lot of guys in that room right now and there are only so many positions available on the 53-man roster. From top to bottom, everybody has been going out every day and competing for a job.”

“We’ve had a couple of days of practice and I went out there and made some plays. I reminded the new guys here who I am now and I’ve been more vocal.”

Linebacker Christian Kirksey also talked about Bryant’s leadership role, where it’s more of a lead-by-example-on-the-field than a vocal thing:

“Yeah, he is embracing [the role]. He is extremely humble. I can only imagine sitting out a year of playing football, especially when it is something that you love to do, but I see him out here and he is working hard, whether it is in the classroom or in the weight room just being that leader. He is not going to say too much. He is not really a vocal guy like that, but his play speaks for itself. He is out here having fun and I am extremely happy that he is back out here making plays.”