Finally, tight end David Njoku is returning in the Cleveland Browns lineup.
The team is expected to activate Njoku — a former first-round pick — for this weekend’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to multiple reports. Njoku suffered a broken wrist that he had surgery on in Week 2 against the Jets, taking a hard hit that also left him concussed.
Njoku started practicing with the team after a stint on the IR two weeks ago. He expressed that he was immediately ready to return to the lineup, but the Browns didn’t want to rush him back.
While head coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t announce the news at his press conference Thursday, he made it clear health-wise Njoku is good.
“He is healthy and ready to go,” Kitchens said. “We will see how it goes Saturday and Sunday.”
Kitchens explained the decision to hold out Njoku earlier in the week.
“We just want to make sure he is ready to go,” Kitchens said. “That is all because there is no half-stepping it. Once you are at the game from that spot, he has to play. You are limited on how many guys you can have at the game so you need to make sure that he can do all of the things he needs to do not just in one area but in all areas, especially in that position.”
David Njoku Announces Returns ‘At Last’
Njoku was direct in announcing his return, using a GIF from the Matrix that said “at last.”
Njoku also made his feelings known about a return with an Instagram post earlier in the week saying, “I’m ready.”
The Browns have until Dec. 11 to officially activate Njoku, which might have been a question considering the team’s playoff positioning. There’s no doubt Njoku would like to put up some numbers with a contract year approaching, but the team would not want to risk further injury if he wasn’t 100% healthy.
At 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed, Njoku is a unique weapon for the Browns.
Last year, Njoku essentially doubled his production in the passing game from his rookie season, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He was off to a slow start this season with just four catches for 37 yards and one touchdown. That being said, he’s one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tight ends thanks to his skill set. He’s is in the third year of a four-year rookie contract, with an option available for a fifth.
David Njoku Impatient to Get on the Field for Browns
It was believed that Njoku did not have surgery on his wrist, but he revealed upon his return that he did to get on the field sooner.
“I’m very impatient,” Njoku told reporters after returning to practice. “When I want something, I want it right now, and without surgery, it looked like it was making me wait a little bit, and I didn’t have time for that.
“The human body’s a very interesting thing. No matter what anybody says, it’s going to heal the way it heals. With that being said, I was very impatient with waiting and I wanted progress now, so I chose eventually to have the surgery, and it worked out perfectly. It healed amazingly fast, and here I am.”
“Stephen is a good, dependable, you know where he is going to be, you know he is going to make the plays that are there to be made and he is reliable,” Kitchens said. “I am really, really happy with what he had given us offensively and from a special teams standpoint. Sometimes you need guys just to go in and do their job on special teams, as well, and he has done a good job in all areas. I am very happy with what Stephen has brought to us.”