David Njoku, thе tight еnd for thе Clеvеland Browns, rеcеntly opеnеd up about thе accidеnt that lеft him with sеvеrе burns on his facе and hands, shеdding light on a chilling ordеal that could havе had far worsе consеquеncеs. Spеaking publicly for thе first timе sincе thе incidеnt, Njoku displayed an optimistic outlook on his rеcovеry.
“I’m still breathing,” he said. “I still got my vision and everything, I mentally feel great.”
Njoku’s accident occurred on September 29, just two days before the Browns’ game against the Baltimore Ravens. Despite his injuries and the excruciating pain, he remarkably played in the game, securing a team-high six catches.
The 27-year-old athlete, however, was reluctant to delve into the specifics of the incident.
“It was a bonfire accident,” he said. “Trying to have a nice little chill Friday, ended up exploding when I lit it up. So yeah, it happens.”
Njoku recounted that his eyes were open when he was engulfed by the fireball.
“So I saw everything, and I really should have been blinded,” he remarked, sitting in front of his locker. “So luckily I’m not.”
He explained that the incident unfolded so rapidly that it was challenging for him to process.
“Shockingly, I’m not trying to sound like a freak, but it was kind of a rush,” he confessed. “Like that adrenaline surge. It was cool, but obviously, we have to be smarter, and I’m glad that nothing drastic happened.”
Despite his ordeal, Njoku maintained a positive attitude, sharing photos of his injuries on Instagram to inspire others who may be dealing with similar challenges.
“I’ve been getting a lot of messages from other burn victims and nurses that have burn victims, and they were telling me how everybody feels embarrassed to show whatever,” he said. “So I wanted just to come out forth and show myself so everyone feels a little bit better about themselves. End of the day, things heal.”
Njoku’s remarkable ability to play through the pain deeply impressed his teammates.
“It says a lot about him,” noted wide receiver Amari Cooper. “Showed a lot of toughness on his part, 100%. There are a lot of players who definitely would not have played with that happening to them less than 48 hours before the game and for good reason.”
Njoku’s determination to play was unwavering. He arrived at Cleveland Browns Stadium for the Ravens game wearing a mask to conceal his injuries and continued to wear it during warm-ups. Following the game, Njoku, a first-round draft pick from Miami in 2017, left without addressing reporters.
Despite missing three practices, Njoku was back on the field Friday and has every intention of playing against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.
“The way I see it, all the pain and suffering from training in the offseason is far worse than any of this,” he explained. “We really push ourselves a lot to strive to be great. So a little burn isn’t going to stop me.”