Q: How are you feeling and what’s your plan?
A: I feel good. My plan is just to do as much as I can during camp. Camp is to prepare you to get better. All the little stuff that I’ve worked on during the offseason, a lot of mental reps, I couldn’t really do anything. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.
Q: What can you do at this point?
A: I feel good. So they’re going to take it slow and build me up into it. In the first few practices anyways, so that gives me a good opportunity to actually practice with everybody and test the back out. To see how it’s feeling.
Q: You will be out on the field today?
Q: What is the back injury? Is it spasming or is it…
A: It went down to a nerve in my right leg so the best remedy was time. You don’t want to mess with it or injure yourself more and get surgery. So it was the non-surgical route of taking time and making sure it recovers fully before you get out there.
Q: Is that more frustrating considering you had to miss so much time with the eye last year?
A: It was frustrating to go through it because I really wanted to come back and then I’m sitting out again. We’re here to play so just being able to get back out there. I’m glad. I’m blessed that I made it to camp this year and I’m healthy and I can get out there so I’m not really looking about what could have happened in the past or what happened now. It’s just making sure I’m moving forward and still keeping a spot at the start of camp as the starting left tackle.
Q: …or do you think you’ll work one day and not work the next day?
A: I think they say limited as in they see what’s going to happen and then we take it from there. Because they’re not saying, "do this or don’t do that." You know certain moves that you can’t do. All that of that is mainly in the weight room. So on the field the doctor cleared me to go. So I’m cleared. They’re just making sure I don’t re-aggravate it.
Q: People know their own backs. I mean if doctors cleared you to go. Did you clear yourself to go? Mentally, did you say my back is OK?
A: You trust in the doctors. So if they clear you to go… Like with my eye injury was… he cleared to go. I’m not going to be thinking that, "Oh I can’t get hit or I can’t block."
Q: Well then how does your back feel?
A: It feels good. I’ve been working out. They didn’t have me run. They didn’t want the first thing to do is sprints and set it off. We start off practice slow anyway. We work our way into it. It’s only helmets. It’s not full contact first day. So I get to go out there and test it out and see what’s going on. Each day I talk to the doctors and trainers here, I tell them how I’m feeling. Each day we’re taking it one day at a time.
Q: This nerve thing was going back to last year?
A: I was careless at the beginning of OTA’s. I was working out. Excited to get back and then it was my fault. It was like now you’re getting older. You have to be more mature about what you do and taking care of your body.
Q: When you had the back issue last year, was it the same thing or was it…
A: No it was like back spasms. The doctor said it’s not like it’s a recurring injury. It’s something that once it heals; you’re good to go. It’s just make sure you don’t put yourself in an awkward position where you’re straining or pulling a groin or something like that. Because that can hurt your back.
Q: With the time you’ve missed, how concerned are you about getting back in the swing?
A: I mean I feel healthy. There’s no really concern at all. It’s that I had time off to recover. I’m not dealing with the bruises or the bumps that everyone else is from a long season. My season was cut short. So I’m excited. I’m ready to get back out there.
Q: What about the technique part or does that just come back after a few practices?
A: I mean you’re still in meetings. It’s not like I took off and wasn’t here. I was still in meetings, still doing book work. All that is just muscle memory and making sure you’re coming back, staying low and keeping yourself in a good position.
Q: But doesn’t it vary from doing the classroom work and actually doing it?
A: That’s why you go to camp. To make sure you get it right.
Q: Pat Flaherty has always had his linemen play multiple positions. With Kareem not here, are you going to work both sides? Are you solely left?
A: I don’t know right now, so we’re left.
Q: Are you about the same weight as you were last year?
A: Last year I believe I came into camp at 319. This year is 310.