Q: You kind of knew that you’d miss the first six weeks of the season?
A: I’m not going to say that I saw it coming. Obviously I was optimistic about it. I feel good. I feel in pretty good shape considering all the factors. I stand by the position my knee is better than it was in November, December, January of last season, but ultimately this was a decision that was made in the best interest of the football team.
Q: Do you think you’re close?
A: I feel like I’m close. Obviously saying that my knee is in better physical condition. Not just the way it feels, but anatomically it’s better than what it was. But at the end of the day, the coaches and medical staff feel it’s in the best interest of the team for me to be on PUP right now. So that’s what we’re doing.
Q: What can you tell us about your injury and the subsequent recovery? Did it take a little longer in their eyes?
A: I don’t think when you start talking about the original injury; this is something that takes a long time to heal. Obviously we were very aggressive and we were very optimistic that I’ll be able to accelerate the process. With that being said, they did not feel comfortable putting me back on the football field with full confidence that I will be able to compete at a high level.
Q: Were you allowed to argue with the decision or was it you were told what the decision was?
A: I was told what the decision was.
Q: It sounded like that you didn’t agree with it totally.
A: It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. I was brought here to do a job and right now, they don’t feel that I could do that job. They don’t feel that it’s in the best interest of the football team for me to be playing and so that’s what it is.
Q: You feel in two months from now, you’ll be more than 100 percent?
A: I feel like that. Ultimately, the decision rests with them. Not with me. All I can do is do the best with the options that I have. So what can I do in the interim? I can help the guys that will be participating. I can get myself in superior condition. I feel that physically, I’m ready to compete at a very high level if and when I’m allowed to come back and play. That’s what I can do.
Q: There’s been a lot of injuries at the position. What have you seen from the guys in the first three preseason games?
A: What I see is that guys are able to compete at a very high level. When you turn on the tape and you watch the guys playing, it’s like watching the varsity defense versus the J.V. offense. They’re dominant. They’re playing at a very high level. Coach talks about building the bridge from the 2011 season to the 2012 season and guys have picked up right where they left off and it shows in their play.
Q: Do you have any doubt that they’re going to clear you this season?
A: I don’t have a crystal ball. If you would have asked me would I start the season on PUP, I’d say there’s no chance, but here I am. It is what it is.
Q: When were you told about that decision?
A: I was told recently. I can’t remember the exact date, but obviously they told me what they felt what was in the best interest of the football team. What they felt like was in my best personal interest.
Q: You were really looking forward to coming back into camp. This must be very disappointing.
A: It’s disappointing, but at the end of the day, what can you do?
Q: Was this more than a clean out?
A: I’m not going to get into specifics. You know better than that. I’m not gonna do that for you. Obviously this was something that needed to be addressed. I would not have been able to further my career had I not addressed it when we took care of it, but it’s something that I played with the better half of the end of the season. I probably played a third of the season last year, including the postseason, with this particular ailment. It’s tough to officially know that I’m not going to be starting the 2012 season. I’m not going to be able to go out there and participate and play the game that I love and play with my teammates. It’s tough.
Q: You did not have a setback? Did they say that it was slow to heal?
A: There was no setback. We’ve been making steady progress since the surgical procedure. I think they I know that I’m pleased with the way it’s recovering. I feel like they are as well, but they want to be smart. They want to be cautious. That’s going to be tough more for me because I’m not able to play, play the game that I love.
Q: Rocky seems like he’s going to be stepping into that role. Do you see any issues with him handling that?
A: No issues at all. When you look at the performance last year and you look at the play count last year, for the majority of the season it was Rocky, Linval and myself rotating at defensive tackle and we all pretty much played the same amount of snaps. It’s not like he can’t handle the load. You look at his performance throughout training and in the preseason, this is probably the best I’ve seen him look in person.
Q: You think Hendricks and Kuhn will pick up the load too?
A: I’m sure. Both of those guys have had strong performances in the preseason and they’re picking up on the learning curve. They’re understanding what this game is about. I’m excited to see what those guys can do production-wise. We’ve seen glimpses of it in the preseason. They’re going to become more consistent as they get more snaps playing. It’s exciting to see their development.