Webb stayed confident during 2½-month hiatus

Tackle J’Marcus Webb remained confident he would return to the NFL during his nearly three months out of the league. Now he rejoins the Vikings.

At 26 years old and being released from the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the preseason, J'Marcus Webb says he never had a doubt he would be playing in the NFL again.

He needed more than 2½ months to make that a reality, but after a successful workout with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday he began the process of learning a new offense with an old team.

“It takes a few days to kind of get back into the groove of things,” Webb said Wednesday in the Vikings locker room. “You put the cleats on and put the pads back on and things get fast real quick.”

Mike Harris, who was signed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers a day after Webb was released by the Chiefs, is expected to start at right tackle in place of Phil Loadholt, who tore a pectoral muscle Sunday and was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday. On Sunday, the Vikings host the Carolina Panthers, who ironically were one of the teams he visited as a free agent in May.

Webb had been keeping in shape in Austin, Texas, lifting weights and generally passing the time by reading, going to movies and hoping a call would come.

“I didn’t think I was done. I just turned 26 years old and I’m still a big boy and ready to rock and roll. That thought never crossed my mind,” Webb said.

“You’ve got to stay confident and stay positive, even in Year 5.”

Webb played in eight games for the Vikings last year, starting one in place of Phil Loadholt, who was concussed.

He was originally a seventh-round selection of the Chicago Bears in 2010 and spent three years there, making 44 of 45 career starts. But after his tenure ended there, Webb hasn’t been able to find a permanent home.

Last year, his eight games with the Vikings were spent learning a different offensive system, so naturally there is change again.

“The terminology has changed. A few blocking schemes have changed, a few different coaches have changed,” he said. “But on Sunday you’ve just got to go out there and hit somebody.”

Head coach Mike Zimmer said it’s too early to tell what Webb can contribute, if anything, this week, but Webb knows his ultimate goal – to start.

“That’s always the mindset. You want to go in and compete to play,” he said. “You don’t want to be sitting on the sideline for too long.

Phil is a great player and I hope to see him back here pretty soon, but if not then there’s guys that’s there to step up and take his role on just as well as he did.”

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