- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Alex Mack earns his living by pushing, shoving and wrestling angry 300-pound-plus men on Sundays. He’s never missed a play in his NFL career.

Mack’s toughness is undeniable.

It was tested recently like never before.

In pain and so sick that Cleveland’s Pro Bowl center required intravenous fluids before the game, Mack never left the field during the Browns’ Oct. 2 game against Tennessee despite a severe appendicitis attack that required emergency surgery the following day. Mack doesn’t regret playing, and would do it again.

“I generally want to play,” Mack said. “It’s what you’re here for and I don’t want to let my team down.”

He may not have a choice this week.

Mack is still recovering from the laparoscopic surgery to remove his appendix and has not yet been cleared to practice. On Wednesday, he was on the field with his teammates but only as a spectator as the Browns (2-2) began installing their game plan for Sunday’s game against Oakland.

Mack said he has improved each day, but that it will likely be a game-time decision whether he plays.

If it were up to him, would he?

“If it was up to me,” Mack said sarcastically, “my appendix would not have gone bad and I’d still be healthy.”

Mack said he felt poorly in the days leading up to the game against the Titans. He had gotten sick during practice earlier in the week, but attributed that to “bad food.” The day before the game, Mack said his sickness intensified and that Saturday night “got a little worse.”

“I thought it was a stomach bug,” he said. “We all thought it was a stomach bug.”

When he arrived at Browns Stadium on Sunday, Mack said he was rundown and tired but determined to play. Mack was hooked up to an IV to get fluids and he was checked by the team’s training staff before he decided to play in his 36th straight game as a pro.

“It wasn’t like everyone knew it was appendicitis,” he said. “I guess 15 percent of the population has an appendix that goes the opposite direction. I’m one of those 15.”

Mack somehow made it through the entire game, a feat that impressed his teammates.

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