Derek Landri left nothing to chance this summer. He added 30 pounds of muscle and says he's worked very hard to be ready to play this year. "I put on about 30 pounds and the doctor cleared me in my physical. My shoulder is fine and my foot is fine and I'm ready to play some football."
Returning from an injury is difficult and most players are never certain they are healthy until they get back on the field. Landri says he feels great but he isn't sure if he is 100 percent healthy just yet. "It's tough to say until you really go live. We're still in shells right now. I'm a little heavier than I was before so it's a little different. 30 pounds lighter is a lot different than 30 pounds heavier so we'll see how that goes when I'm in full pads."
Not being able to compete and having to watch his teammates play and practice was the most difficult challenge for Landri during his injury . He had to sit out all last year and that is also something Landri is not accustomed to doing. "Once you get hurt, you always want to get back out there. I don't think anybody who loves to compete and loves to play likes to sit and watch other people do their thing. It was tough—especially back-to-back injuries like that—just getting back from my ankle injury and then injuring my shoulder. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun. Sometimes things happen and you just have to get over it."
Landri says he just wants to get on the field. He's tired of waiting and is very focused on getting on the field. "You just go as hard as you can every play and listen to what the coaches have to tell you. They put you in the spots to make the plays and it's up to you to make that happen. I'm just going to do the best I can and hopefully it will work out that I get some playing time this year."
One thing is certain, Landri is very excited to just to be able to practice again. "Oh yeah," said Landri about being excited to practice. "If you can't get excited about playing football for Notre Dame then something is wrong with you. Of course I'm excited and it's just great being part of this team and finally being able to contribute something to this team."
It appears Landri is back on track to becoming that superstar many expect him to be. It hasn't been easy for him but it appears all his injury problems are behind him and he can get back to what he does best—pounding on running backs and quarterbacks.