Fortunate Pinkston fighting his way back to football

Jason Pinkston is back to football - and smiling all the way.

BEREA, Ohio — With almost 90 players on the field at the Browns organized team activity practices, it isn't necessarily easy to pick out Jason Pinkston.

He's the really happy one in the brown jersey.

Really happy. Really fortunate.

Last October, Pinkston developed a blood clot in his lung that ended his season after six games and left him hospitalized, fighting for his life. He left the Browns Oct. 14, 2012, game vs. the Bengals because he'd been feeling sick, and five days later he was hearing from doctors that a clot that started in his leg had moved to his lungs. 

"When I was off that six months, (the football field) is the only place I wished I could've been," Pinkston said Thursday. "So I never want to take anything for granted. That ís for sure."

He's since undergone a battery of tests, rehabilitation and uncertainty, and this week he has returned to action, trying to get back to speed and reclaim the starting left guard job he held last season. 

Pinkston said on Thursday that he was medically cleared to return to football activities on April 12, the same day his girlfriend gave birth to his first daughter. Martha Jane Pinkston was named for Jason's mother, who died five years ago this month. 

"I was at Fairview Hospital for the birth, then I had to drive down to the Cleveland clinic," Pinkston said. "I got a CT scan at like 9 a.m., and then I met with the doctor and later on that day he called me and told me everything looks great, that I could go back to football.

"This is my second week of running and working out and this is obviously my first week of practice. I have been off the medicine a month yesterday." 

A fifth-round pick out of Pitt in 2011, Pinkston said he's having "No problems. No problems running. Nothing." He said he's grateful for the support he received through his ordeal from his family and teammates and looks forward to putting everything behind him. 

"I'm fortunate to be back, and I'm happy to be back," Pinkston said. "Everybody's competing. My goal is just run out of that tunnel on opening day for the Browns."

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