EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Was it a broken bone in his neck that sidelined Larry Donnell for the final eight games of the 2015 season and threatened his NFL future, or wasn't it? The New York Giants' tight gave a conflicting, sort of mysterious answer to that on Tuesday after the team's first practice of voluntary mini-camp.
"I'm from Alabama and we break bones all the time, so I'm used to it," Donnell said. "I was just ready for it to heal so I could get back to playing, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. This one took a little bit longer and I had to wait for it to heal and I'm glad I did make that decision. I'm ready to go now."
So, Larry, you broke a bone in your neck?
"Not my neck. It was a little minor stuff."
So, Larry, it wasn't a broken bone?
"To a certain extent. I'm just glad it's healed now."
Whatever the true extent of the injury, the 27-year-old Donnell is just thrilled to be back on the field.
"I'm feeling great, wonderful. It's been too many days. It just feels awesome to be back on this grass running around again, being able to play the game that I love," Donnell said. "I had all the faith in the world that I would be able to play again. It was just a matter of getting the go-ahead so I could get back out here."
Donnell said he won't think about the injury when actual contact begins.
"That's why I'm back here today. That's over with now. I made the decision to play football and I don't know where I'd be without it. It's what I love to do, so I'm ready to go," he said.
In Donnell's absence last season, then-rookie Will Tye stepped up and caught 42 passes, 32 of those over the final seven games. Donnell and Tye, along with Matt LaCosse and Jerome Cunningham, will compete for roster spots and playing time at tight end.