BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor believes he will play this season. However, he's been warned not to rush back.
Taylor, who underwent surgery last month to repair a torn chest muscle he injured lifting weights, said he's optimistic about playing for the Browns in 2012. The 335-pounder doesn't have a timeframe for his return, but after there were initial fears he would miss the entire year, he expects to see the field again at some point.
"When I'm back, I'm back," he said. "I'm taking it one day at a time. When I think I'm ready to play, I'll be out there."
Taylor is currently limited to range-of-motion exercises and cardio workouts. He was doing bench presses when he injured his chest.
"I really didn't know what happened because it didn't hurt that much," he said. "I thought I just strained it, but obviously after the MRI it wasn't just a strain."
Taylor's injury is the same kind that twice shelved Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who missed 26 consecutive games in 2009 and 2010 after tearing pectoral muscles on both sides of his chest.
"I talked to him," Taylor said of Jackson, who made a strong comeback in 2011. "He gave me lots of words of encouragement. He told me not to come back too early and keep my head up and keep working hard."
Losing Taylor, who started all 16 games as a rookie and recorded 59 tackles last season, was a major blow to Cleveland's defense. He wants to be a quick healer, but he understands the risks in trying to come back too soon.
"I'm doing good right now," he said. "I'm itching to get back, but I'm not going to rush it. When I know it's time for me to be out there, I'll be out there."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press