The Cleveland Browns have, unfortunately, been no stranger to season-ending injuries during the 2023 season. Jack Conklin, Nick Chubb and Deshaun Watson are among the key contributors to have their years ended prematurely.
Safety Rodney McLeod has now joined the list as well following a biceps injury that requires surgery. The veteran admitted the news is gutting, but he took a moment to express gratitude for his career with a tweet on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old noted "disappointment, frustration, anger" are all emotions he's feeling right now. However, he's embracing the Thanksgiving spirit to look back on all he's been grateful to experience during his 12-year NFL career.
It's admirable to see McLeod take a low moment and opt to look on the positive side. He's well aware of this team's potential, led by the top-ranked defense that he played an active role on, so it has to sting to not see the rest of the year out with his football brothers. He has plenty to be thankful for, though, including a past Super Bowl ring, so it's not all entirely bad for the vet.
While McLeod's career is winding down, Ronnie Hickman's is just beginning. Hickman is an undrafted rookie free agent, just like McLeod was out of Virginia in 2012. That didn't stop the former Cavalier from going on to make 166 appearances over a decade, including a whopping 143 starts.
Cleveland will now hope it gets similar results from Hickman. The ex-Ohio State standout is slated for a serious uptick in playing time after being a regular inactive over the first part of the season.
With fellow safety Juan Thornhill missing two straight games and not practicing on Wednesday, Hickman even has a chance to log his first NFL start in Week 12. Hopefully with McLeod's veteran guidance, Hickman carries the torch from his fellow UDFA.
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