Speed is Kaluka Maiava's game, and he knows it. That's one reason why the Browns' third-year linebacker is looking to play at 225 pounds this season in Cleveland's newly installed 4-3 scheme.
Given his wheels and build, the Browns' decision to scrap the 3-4 could be a boon to Maiava, who played in a "40" front at USC.
"I was really excited when I found out we were going to the 4-3," said Maiava, who expects to play on the weak side in Dick Jauron's scheme. "I'm hoping for the best."
Maiava's 2010 season ended after only two games after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee, but on Wednesday, he told PFW that he's about "90 percent" recovered from his injuries.
"If I needed to go next week, I could go," said the 24-year-old Maiava, who will be checked out by the Browns' medical staff once the lockout ends " … I'm just being really careful."
Missing most of 2010 caused Maiava to look inward. Hawaii is his home, and in the past, he would have been in Maui in the offseason, with leisure on his mind. Instead, he's working out twice a day, five times a week, in Oahu.
As Maiava sees it, his offseason training wasn't what it needed to be.
"You've really got to prepare for the worst so you can play the best," he explained.
In the morning, Maiava emphasizes football skills in his workouts. In his evening workouts, mixed martial arts are the focus.
"After every workout, I'm just dying. Totally spent, but it's totally satisfying," Maiava said of the MMA training.
As a rookie in 2009, Maiava appeared in all 16 games (three starts) and notched 45 tackles and 2½ sacks. He hoped to build on that last season. Instead, he was left to deal with a "very humbling" set of circumstances, as he put it.
Maiava, who never before had suffered a season-ending injury, aims to bounce back.
"Hopefully I fight back from this and have a successful career," he said.