Nick Reveiz had not played real football since September 9, 2009, that was until Tuesday afternoon.
For the first time during this year's spring football workouts the linebacker and captain got to shed the red non-contact jersey and go full speed.
"It felt great. Just taking off that big red jersey, it felt so good," said Reveiz. "It was just awesome to have the first hit. It was awesome to be back out there full speed."
And the first hit was a good one. Reveiz said he was just looking to bulldoze someone.
"The first hit, we did a backs on backers drill blitz drill, and I wasn't even trying to do a move I was just trying to run over somebody," Reveiz said with a laugh and a smile.
Reveiz said Tuesday certainly wasn't thought to be in the cards originally, but he was determined to make it back for spring practice all along. And he might be the only one that isn't surprised he made it back.
"I told Coach Thompson the night after the Ohio game that I would be back for spring ball. He was like "ya, ya, just get healthy." I was like no I am going to be back."
Even while excelling in his rehab process Reveiz was still told he wouldn't be doing any live work during spring.
"The whole time they were saying we aren't going to do any live with you, its just going to be seven on seven and individual. Then today they decided to let me loose a little bit."
Reveiz credited the coaching staff for keeping his desire to be on the field in check while still letting him push himself to his limits.
"This coaching staff has been awesome with letting me be smart about it, but also letting me get after it," said the Knoxville native.
Even during Tuesday's practice Reveiz was pushing the limits of the original plan, something that seems to have been common theme throughout his rehab.
"The way we originally talked about it before practice is that I would do the first two reps with the ones. It ended up being a little bit more than that," said Reveiz with a smile.
Reveiz said he was a little nervous at the start of the day. Stating it was hard not to think about the knee.
"I think so, a little bit. Its hard to have that big of an injury and be out for six months and not say that you don't think about it at all."
But, despite all the nerves Reveiz says the days of the red jersey are done. And now he looks forward to the reps and the full speed football.
"The red is done. The biggest thing for me that I was worried about was that I need the reps. I needed to get hit and have that mental thing go away. That was something that was big today. There were a couple of times where I wasn't as confident to cut on my right and that is going to come with reps, running and trying to cut in those full speed situations."
While the captain may not be limited during practice scrimmages might be another situation, but then again he says that no one thought he would be ready for spring. So will Tennessee fans see Reveiz for the orange and white game?
"I want to scrimmage and I think I can. I think the training staff is worried about someone getting thrown into my leg when I can't see it. I am never going to say never, maybe you will see me out there for the spring game, we don't know."
And while other may doubt that he will participate, Reveiz says never say never.
"They didn't think I would be able to do this either. Its just a blessing from the Lord to be able to be out here and be able to hit again full speed."