Defensive end Takkarist McKinley just can’t seem to catch a break.
Training camp for the Cleveland Browns is just four days old, yet McKinley has already exited the practice field multiple times for various ailments.
The first issue occurred on Friday, July 30, and apparently was not too serious. McKinley missed the team’s third official practice of the season due to “illness,” though Browns officials did not elaborate further as to the specifics of the pass rusher’s condition.
Another incident occurred Saturday, as detailed by Nate Ulrich, Browns beat writer for the Beacon Journal.
“#Browns DE Takk McKinley just jogged inside after kneeling down and being checked on sideline by athletic trainer,” Ulrich posted to Twitter early Friday morning. “(McKinley) left yesterday’s practice with illness.”
It is unclear if McKinley’s departure from practice for the second consecutive day was related to the previous day’s illness or a separate issue.
McKinley Looking For Fresh Start With Browns
McKinley is looking for a new start with the Browns after four relatively successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
The pass rusher has already had some highs and lows to his NFL career. He collected 13 of his 17.5 career sacks in his first two years in the league and showed the talent that made him a first-round pick.
However, he was cut by Atlanta in November after a social media tirade, and he wasn’t able to get on the field after that. He signed with the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders, but was never healthy enough to suit up.
“You always have your highs and you always have your lows. That is just life. Life is a rollercoaster,” he told reporters. “For me, the biggest thing is to learn from my mistakes. I am not perfect. I made a lot of mistakes in my past. However, if I want to grow from that, I just do not make the same mistake twice. As far as the opportunity goes, sometimes a fresh start is the best thing for everyone. I am just very, very excited to be a part of the Cleveland Browns knowing how bad they wanted me and knowing the opportunity that lies in front of me.”
McKinley Will Fight For Starting Snaps This Season
McKinley had a solid chance to become the starter at defensive end opposite of All-Pro Myles Garrett, although the signing of Jadeveon Clowney makes that less likely. Still, McKinley looks likely to be a major part of a highly-touted Browns defense and pass rush.
While McKinley has a bit of history, the Browns didn’t gamble too big on the former Falcon. He’s on a one-year, prove-it deal worth $4.25 million.
If he flashes the potential he showed early on in his career, it will be an absolute steal.
“Takk is a skilled young player with tremendous upside,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said in a release. “We like his pass rush ability and the way he’s gotten after the QB throughout his young career. Defensive line was a position that we felt we wanted to address during free agency, and we are excited to add Takk and the impactful tools he possesses to the group that will help make the plays we need along the line.”