At 6-foot-0 and 237 pounds, Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan may not look like the prototypical inside linebacker to the average neophyte who only watches the NFL because of fantasy football ramifications.
Nevertheless, to the purists and diehards who played football at some point in their lives, it's safe to say that Trevathan is a version of themselves—a player with unshakable work ethic, someone who wasn't always the swiftest or strongest but found a way to get to the greatest level of professional North American grid-iron football.
Trevathan, who was the 188th overall pick (sixth round) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Broncos out of Kentucky, popped up on my radar the moment he was drafted, and my respect for him grew as I reviewed his collegiate game-tape.
Trevathan was not big, of course, and didn't look like much of an athlete but he just flew around making plays and I thought to myself, “the Broncos got themselves a steal here.”
As his career has progressed at 5,280 feet, it's safe to say that Trevathan has amassed many converts, despite a litany of devastating injuries in 2014, which saw him play only three games. He still has career numbers of three forced fumbles, three sacks and three interceptions.
It would appear that excellence comes from Trevathan in denominations of “three,” and if he can shake off the effects of a dislocated patella and kneecap, which limited him in 2014, a third fully healthy season can vault the Broncos defense to great heights.
“It’s adversity,” Trevathan said today following OTAs. “Any time you face adversity like that, you’re going to come out on the better end—you’re going to come out stronger. If you’re not getting better you’re getting worse. I’ve been taking every day and squeezing as much as I can out of it to be great. I’m trying to have a great year as well as a great season with this team.”
Following practice tomorrow, Trevathan and the Broncos will be cut loose for several weeks, as they gear up for training camp, which begins in late July. As for Trevathan’s prospects of being physically ready in time for camp, he’s optimistic.
“I think I’ll be ready but I’m just going to take it one day at a time,” he said. “That’s all I can do. At the same time, I’m feeling better than I did before. I’m more confident and I’m just all-around a better person.”
Having the confidence in knowing that if you plant your leg to make a cut on the field, that your knee will hold up and the psychology therein, is a major part of the recovery process. For now, Trevathan is quietly gaining that surety.
“There are some things I’ve got to work on with this leg,” he said. “I want this leg to be stronger than it’s ever been since I’ve been playing. I have to take that every day, attack my workout and therapy and I won’t have any problems this year.”
Trevathan revealed today that he not only had surgery this past January, but that he had his entire kneecap replaced. One can imagine the depth and toil of the recovery process from such a procedure.
“I got a new kneecap,” he said. “The old one is gone. It’s best foot forward….I’ve got somebody else’s kneecap. It was difficult because it’s a bigger knee when I look at my knees. I love the scar though.”
With both Trevathan and Brandon Marshall recovering from surgeries this offseason, Trevathan, manifesting his mindset as a team player, talked about his thoughts on the Broncos linebacker group and how they’ve handled being asked to step up in place of the team’s projected starters and learn a new defense.
“I'm proud to sit in the meeting room and watch those guys develop like I developed…We [he and Marshall] are applying a lot of pressure on them. We want them to succeed in what they are doing. I didn’t have a spot when I came in here. You’ve got to work for it, no matter who is in front of you or whatever. You never know what can happen. You’re one play from getting in. We want those guys to be prepared and be the best that they can be. Those guys have a great head on their shoulders and if they come in with the right mindset every day they are going to be great.”
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Trevathan also confirmed he has been rehabbing with Marshall, likening it to the situation between linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., when they were rehabbing together. “You saw how they came back. That’s what me and Brandon are talking out there. We want to be the best,” he confirmed.
Furthermore, Trevathan gave his thoughts on how swiftly he believes the Broncos will be playing on defense. In defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme, the players won’t be thinking as much, allowing them instead to utilize their instinct and react.
“It makes it so much easier,” he said. “We don’t have to make too many checks. Basically we just play with the look and just do what we do. We might need some checks at gametime but right now we’re just focusing on getting into the defense, lining up, being physical and just making the plays that we need to make.”
This is the common refrain we continually here from Broncos defenders, that Trevathan and his cohorts are going to be playing swiftly, which is probably how NFL defenses should be coached, as that's how players come into the league, ready to hit.
With no setbacks thus far, Trevathan appears to be ready to come back as healthy as ever and with the leadership skills he has already acquired in his short time as a professional, I fully expect him to be a key component in Phillips' scheme.