New Cleveland Browns defensive end Takk McKinley remains away from the team for personal reasons with his return still uncertain
When the Cleveland Browns went on a defensive shopping spree this offseason, they found pieces all over the board to help them bolster their defense and prepare to make a run at the Super Bowl. One of those pieces came with taking a chance and seeing if a fresh start can really rejuvenate his career. That piece is Takk McKinley.
Making it to the NFL after coming from almost nothing is a story that seems nearly impossible. For McKinley, he turned the impossible to possible.
When McKinley was 5 years old, his mother abandoned him, leaving him behind nothing but his grandmother Myrtle Collins. While McKinley didn’t quite know it yet, Collins ended up being the hero in his life, fueling him to keep his head down and work hard every single day, leading him to an NFL career.
In 2011, McKinley received a call from a cousin only to hear that his grandmother, Collins, was in critical condition after suffering multiple strokes. McKinley rushed to the hospital to make it before she passed, and was able to make a promise to her before passing. That promise? That he would create a life away from what he had to grow up in and that he would make it to the NFL. McKinley did just that.
McKinley ended up being a first round pick and was selected 26th overall by the Atlanta Falcons. He showed flashes during his time with the Falcons but was never really able to keep his feet underneath him and get on stable ground. McKinley ended up requesting a trade from the Falcons that did not end well, as the Falcons continued to turn down trade offers from teams, leading to McKinley mocking the Falcons with clown emojis.
The Falcons finally cut him, and McKinley went on to fail multiple physicals for multiple other teams. Finally, he landed with the Browns, looking for a fresh and new start in the league.
Cleveland had done everything to try and get a hold of McKinley previously, from trying to trade for him as well as try and get him off of waivers multiple times. For McKinley, it was a security blanket for him knowing how bad a team wanted him, leaving him determined to make it a completely fresh start with the Browns.
While McKinley attended mini-camps for the Browns, he remains away from the team as of now for personal reasons and the Browns are not sure when he will return.
Obviously, mental health and the well-being of the person comes before anything else. For McKinley, he still has time to get himself and his mind right to prepare for week 1 and try to be on the field.
McKinley has a good support system around him in the Browns organization, one that again wanted him and will make sure he has everything he needs to get back on track.