For the vast majority of the OTA's and training camp, Louis Leonard has been the most steady and impressive of the gaggle of young defensive linemen fighting for roster spots.
Particularly in the last couple of weeks, Leonard began to show signs that not only could he be more than just roster filler, but could, potentially, play a bigger-than-expected role in the DL rotation.
Then, this past Monday, Leonard did not play in the loss to the Giants. At all. No explanation was given by the club as to why Leonard – and up-and-comer at a position in desperate need of depth – was the only "healthy" player who did not see the field in the Meadowlands.
Not after the loss, and not after meeting with the media following Wednesday's practice did head coach Romeo Crennel – or any other member of the organization, for that matter – address Leonard's mysterious disappearing act.
Even backchannel talks with various Browns sources, who had been guaranteed the cloak of anonymity in exchange for information, revealed nothing.
And, as it turns out, it's much, much, much ado about relatively nothing.
According to a Browns source, Leonard is suffering from a slight ankle injury and his being held out of the game was strictly a precautionary move. Additionally, Leonard's quality play thus far gave them the latitude to look at other players fighting for roster spots while at the same time limiting the potential for Leonard to do any further damage to his ankle.
"(Leonard) has a little ding in his ankle, and we were just being cautious," the Browns source told the Orange & Brown Report. "We know what Leonard can do. We've seen it over the course of the past few months.
"His injury gave us the opportunity to look at Ahtyba Rubin and others to see what we have there behind him. (Leonard) could end up being a part of what we're doing on the (defensive) line in the regular season, so we just let him take it easy to get a look at others."
Leonard has also suffered through a foot and kidney injury at various times throughout the off-season, a source close to the lineman said, so that could have played into their line of thinking as well.
At this time, it's not known whether or not Leonard will be on the field for this Saturday's late afternoon game with the Lions. However, it would be somewhat surprising if he were not held out again as a precaution.