As sweat beads streaked his cheeks, defensive end Marcus Benard looked out at the green practice fields behind the Browns' training facility.
For a time, he didn't know if he'd see them again.
He made it back.
Seven months ago, an instant of recklessness on a motorcycle nearly took Benard's life. At 26, a highly paid professional athlete just tapping into his potential, Benard, who had beaten the odds and made an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent, almost threw everything away and left three young sons without their father.
Benard was lucky. He lived and learned.
''I appreciate life,'' he said. ''And I appreciate the sport that I'm playing and my responsibilities to it. It's a blessing and I feel like it's a plan.
''I'm very happy to be here.''
Benard spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since his harrowing experience. Before answering questions, he smiled and shook hands with several media members, another step in his recovery completed.
On Oct. 10, Benard had...