The Cleveland Browns returned from their bye week with a new face on the practice field.
Linebacker Jacob Phillips, who has been sidelined since tearing a biceps tendon during a joint practice against the New York Giants on August 19, was designated to return from the injured reserve list on Monday and practiced later in the day.
We have designated LB Jacob Phillips for return from injured reserve— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 6, 2021
Phillips, who was the team’s third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, had been working as the backup to veteran Anthony Walker in the preseason. The Browns were hoping that Phillips could build on his rookie season, where he started three games and had a team-high 10 tackles in the final game of the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Those plans were put on hold when Phillips was injured, obviously, but with five games left in the season, there is still time for Phillips to make an impact this year.
At the time of his injury the Browns said there was a possibility that Phillips could return before the end of the year, but nothing is ever guaranteed, which made his appearance on the practice field a welcome sight, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Really excited for Jacob to be back out there in uniform and practicing. Those are long ways away when you first get injured, and you are spending time in that training room. Just to see him out there, that is just a great reflection of how hard he has worked. Now in terms of when he is back and when he is ready, we will work through that. Just wanted to put my eyes on him. Had his first practice, watch the tape and see how he is doing, but we will make those determinations over the next few days.”
Cleveland now has 21 days to determine if they want to activate Phillips or place him on the season-ending injured reserve list. But given the way the teams have handled players returning from injured reserve this season, it would be a surprise if a good week of practice sees Phillips on the field this Sunday when the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens.