Jansen talks about his injury and recovery.
It happened in the first quarter of the first of five exhibition games the Washington Redskins would play in 2005. On a high school football field in Canton, Ohio playing in the Hall of Fame game, Jon Jansen's season ended before it ever began. Away from the play, the cameras focused in on Jansen, who had missed only a handful of snaps in his five-year NFL career, crumpled on the turf, his Achilles' tendon torn.
"I knew before I hit the ground what had happened and I knew that there was no quick recovery from it," said Jansen recently. Joe Gibbs and Joe Bugel knew that too and scrambled to come up with a Plan B. The immediate solution was to insert Kenyatta Jones, a former starter for New England, into Jansen's spot.
Despite what he knew, in the first days after his injury Jansen was in a state of denial. "It didn't really hit me for a long time. . .You think you'll wake up the next day and there's some way you can make it feel OK to go out and play," he said. "For a long time I thought that maybe there was something I could do to get back out there faster. But all I could do was let it heal."
While it healed, the Redskins struggled. Jones was ineffective to the point where he was waived and Ray Brown, a training camp pickup, became the oldest player ever to start a game on the offensive line. Jansen was struggling with his role as a spectator. "There was no good part about it. If they were doing real well I'd be sitting back saying, ‘I guess they don't really need me.' Whenever they struggled I was really wishing I could be out there to help be a part of some solution. Either way, it wasn't going to be very good."
After staying away from Redskins Park except for treatment for about two months he decided to come in and watch film. That led to some more frustration on Jansen's part. "Not that I have anything against Ray (Brown) or anyone else who was playing in my spot, but I hated seeing it."
Still, he kept on going in to the film room. "I came in and watched film, trying to stay sharp in the mental game of football while I was physically out, Jansen said. "I was in learning all of the changes that they were making last season so that when I came back this offseason I wouldn't be coming in as the new guy. So just a couple of months after it happened I was back in there staying mentally sharp."
In the third and final installment of The Rock Returns, Jansen anticipates getting back out on the field.
The Rock Returns, Part 1: Frustration
The Rock Returns, Part 2
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