BEREA – First-round draft pick Barkevious Mingo was cleared for contact and is expected to make his NFL debut Sunday against Baltimore.
Mingo suffered a bruised lung Aug. 15 against Detroit and returned to practice last week in a limited capacity. During the half-hour open to reporters today, he participated in punt coverage and hit the blocking sled for the first time since the injury. He also returned to punt coverage for the first time.
“It’s very exciting,” Mingo said before practice. “I watched last week and I just want to get on the field. Hopefully I can do that.”
Mingo, the No. 6 pick out of LSU, is expected to join the rotation at outside linebacker with starters Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard and backup Quentin Groves. Kruger and Groves had sacks in the opening loss to Miami on Sunday.
“I feel I bring a lot to this team and the coaches can use me in different ways,” Mingo said. “I think that’s the best part about it. I’m ready to get it done. And just ready to play.”
Mingo said he spit up blood on the sideline and was short of breath after taking an ordinary hit on the opening kickoff of the preseason game against the Lions. He said he’s felt good for weeks.
“I feel better knowing I’m able to play if I’m called upon,” he said.
Mingo said his mother is worried about him returning to the field, but he’s reassured her.
“I’m doing good. I feel good,” he said. “The coaches and doctors both agree I’m able to play. I’m ready to play, so things will be OK.”
** Starting strong safety T.J. Ward (shoulder) and starting defensive end Ahtyba Rubin (calf) rode the stationary bike and didn’t practice. Ward missed a series against the Dolphins but returned to the game. Rubin was inactive for the opener.
** Starting right guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle) wasn’t on the practice field, but Chudzinski didn’t rule out anyone for Sunday.
Lauvao said he’s been out of a walking boot for a week but didn’t know if he’ll practice this week.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said.