Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Ryan Tucker said playing in an exhibition game is a reachable goal after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hip.
Tucker, a former tackle who started the final eight games last season at right guard, suffered a "freak" injury during non-contact drills in May. He still isn't sure how he got hurt, and he spent a day walking around before he was diagnosed with a non-displaced hip fracture. While his teammates practice outdoors, the 33-year-old is inside working to get strength in his leg and backside.
He was asked if he would be ready for the Sept. 7 opener against Dallas.
"I'm going to say yes," said Tucker, making his first comments since having a plate inserted into his hip. "Hopefully it's sooner. I'm trying like crazy to get back out there. Not going to rush it, not going to get out there where I have another setback. I'll be back out there eventually."
Fortunately, the Browns have enough depth on their line to offset the loss of Tucker, who signed as a free agent in 2002 and for a long time was their best player up front. But the additions of Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley and others have made Cleveland's offensive line one of the team's best units.
"We have so many good players on that line, so much depth," said Tucker, who was suspended for the first four games last season for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. "I'm just going to play my role right now. Just going to get healthy, then do what I can on the field, whether I start or whether I back up. I'm not going to be stingy with this one."
While recovering from his injury, Tucker helped managed one of his son's Little League baseball teams.
"I stunk at it," he said. "But I enjoyed it. My kid loved it. It was fun, man."
For the second straight day, wide receiver Donte' Stallworth sat out with a hamstring injury.