It's hard standing on the sidelines watching everybody else play. Mini-camp is the chance to get out there on the field with your new teammates for the first time, and it isn't something that I wanted to miss. I put my jersey on and think to myself ‘great. It's my time to get out there and show the coaches what I can do.' But then reality sinks in and I know the only chance I'll get this weekend is to be an observer.
But that aside from that frustration, I'm really happy to be here in Chicago. The coaches have gone out of their way to make all of us feel welcome and at home. It's a big transition going from college ball into the NFL. So in that sense, maybe taking this time to sit back and watch how things unfold isn't such a terrible thing.
I've been working hard on rehab. In fact, I began that process even before I had the surgery on my foot. I suffered a stress fracture sometime during my senior season at Clemson. I never knew it had happened until I had an x-ray, so it's hard to pinpoint the exact time I got hurt. But as soon as I knew that there was a problem, I talked to doctors and trainers and started a program to bring myself back as quickly as possible.
Deciding to go ahead and have the surgery to repair the problem shortly before the draft was a risk. I thought that it would hurt me more if the scouts and coaches knew that I'd been injured but that I had done nothing to correct the problem. It's hard to go ahead and decide to have an operation when nothing is bothering you that much, but I felt that in the long run it was the best choice.
The funny part is that some teams pushed me down their draft board because I had surgery. That makes no sense at all to me. I played on a bad foot all last year and had good numbers. Why would fixing a physical problem make me more of a risk? I have no answer for that question.
I am grateful that the Bears saw my potential and decided that they wanted me to be a part of this team. They agreed with my decision to have the operation and were willing to work with me knowing that. I couldn't be in a better situation. I've always followed the Bears and I'm very excited to have this opportunity.
I believe that I have something to bring to the position. I did a lot of track in high school and college so my speed should be a definite plus. I have a good eye for the ball and I certainly have the desire to succeed. I know that the team has a lot receivers, but I am confident that I can an impact.
Clemson had an excellent program so I feel that I have a base to make the jump to the NFL. Of course, things are moved up a notch once you make it to this level, but as I see things, it's the same technique, just a little faster. I guess I'll know for sure the first time that I am back there on he field.
I rehab on a daily basis and the trainers are happy with my progress. Right now they are saying that I should be cleared to play on June 6. That's plenty of time to settle in before training camp begins.
I've had a lot of support from family and friends, and from the coaches and trainers at Clemson through all of this. I feel that everybody wants me to succeed. A lot of people have given their time and effort to get me back out there and I hope to prove that what they did for me was worth it.
I'm not a patient person by nature but I'm doing what I have to do: going to class, learning the playbook and building my strength back up. But I'll tell you, getting cleared to play again can't come soon enough for me.