7. Safety Grant Delpit is returning from Achilles surgery
Safety Grant Delpit was the Browns 2020 second-round pick from the Louisiana State University Tigers and really was performing well by all accounts when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in practice. The Achilles injury is one of the worst injuries an athlete can have.
An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in the knee, as noted previously, is not necessarily the kiss of death that it used to be, but the Achilles injury (the big tendon in the back of the heel) has historically been one of the tough ones to fix and predict the outcome for.
There is ample evidence in sports medicine literature that athletes who suffer Achilles tendon injuries are at risk of not making it back to the playing field, and if they do make it back, they may not be at 100%, and their careers may be shortened (Shirzad, Khalid, John D. Hewitt, Carter Kiesau, and Selene G. Parekh. “Return to football after Achilles tendon rupture.” (2010)..
First, let’s look at the optimistic case. Grant Delpit has a realistic shot at a complete recovery. Let’s hope for that and also have complete faith in him that he will do everything in his power to get back on the field and be as close to 100% as possible.
It was heartening to watch Kevin Durant come back all the way in the NBA this season after he suffered the same injury as Delpit, showing that a comeback is possible. Cornerback Brent Grimes played six seasons and made the Pro Bowl three times after tearing his Achilles. So it’s definitely possible to come back all the way.
At this point, however, it is not a slam dunk that he will make it all the way back.
Browns fans have to understand this point. He ran 4.39 seconds for the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. That is a blistering time and put him among the fastest safeties in the NFL. That no longer matters.
All that matters is what he can do today and whether it is good enough to contribute to the Cleveland Browns in some capacity, whether it is the starter or extra defensive back or special teams player. We simply cannot place expectations on him based on his pre-injury capabilities. Let’s wait and see what we’ve got. Support him no matter what.
In summary, Grant Delpit had a ruptured Achilles tendon, which was surgically reattached. The surgery was judged to be successful and there is hope for a full recovery. However, the numbers say that full recovery is not guaranteed and that these injuries are career-threatening, and he may or may not make it back to the same level he was at before the injury.