Devon Kennard came to the NFL after an injury-plagued college career. Injuries held him back during his first two seasons with the New York Giants as well, as he played in only 21 of a potential 32 regular season games.
Kennard, entering his third NFL season, said on Thursday that he has spent his offseason trying to do something about that.
"I have lost some weight and I am just focusing in on what I need to do. Like I said, I am really not worried about the past," Kennard said. "Everyone wants to put that statement on me and there were some unfortunate deals and some hamstrings, but that is behind me now and I am not worried about any of that."
The 2014 fifth-round pick had a hamstring injury in 2014, and hamstring and foot problems last year. He said he is down to 251 pounds from 254, and will "probably lose a couple more pounds."
"I am not worried about the past. I had some hamstring issues and a foot issue last year and I am making sure I change the way I train and going into [year three] now I have learned a lot and I have just moved past all of that and I am not worried about all of that," Kennard said. "It is a new year, new opportunity and I feel like what I have been doing this offseason is going to prepare me to play, God willing, 24 games."
As a rookie, Kennard excited Giants fans, showing flashes of becoming the best home-grown linebacker the team has had since Jessie Armstead. He wants to get back to being that guy.
"It is frustrating for me because I couldn’t control the things that happened, but like I said, it is in the past for me and I am excited to move forward. I know what type of player I am and what type of player I hope to become in the future and that is all I am focused on, the present and the future and I am not worried about the past. God willing, all that stuff is going to fall by the wayside when I start playing again," Kennard said.
"I know that I can play football at this level and really help this team win games and that is what I want to do and that is what I am here for."
The Giants, obviously, would like to see that version of Kennard in 2016. For an entire season.