Getting ready for training camp this year was a grind. It’s always a grind but even more so coming off an injury. But I think it was one of those things you can look at optimistically or pessimistically. I could have looked at it like, “Why did this happen to me?” or “Oh my God, why do I have to go through this?”
I chose to look at it as another great challenge. I needed another mountain to climb, and I looked forward to climbing that mountain which is how I looked at the grind every day. Every day was another step. There were setbacks, mentally, physically and emotionally, but you get to see what you’re really made of when you go through things like this, and I appreciate it.
Some people may have had doubts as to whether I could make it back in time for camp, but I never had any doubt. My body was recovering and healing at the rate it needed to. Working out with our strength and conditioning coach, Ray Wright, was incredibly beneficial when doing the conditioning test and things like that.
Switching strength and conditioning staffs didn’t make much of a difference. Before getting released from the Seahawks, I really wasn’t at that point in my rehab. But once I did get to work after joining the 49ers, Ray, Shane, Mike, Austin, Marquis—they took their time with me, but they kind of threw me to the fire as well.
I think talking to some other guys that have dealt with the same injury was beneficial. I talked to Kobe [Bryant] the day after I went down. He gave me some great pointers; things I need to do early on in the process to make sure I expedited the healing process.
He told me to be more proactive than reactive; I think that was one of the big things. If you let your foot just sit in the cast and your muscles atrophy, then you’re going to have a longer road to recovery. He gave me some techniques that really helped.
During the whole journey back, I saw a side of myself that I never knew I had. It was one of those things where you don’t know you have to be as strong as you have to be until you have to be that strong.
It may seem strange to say this—but the present was a great time to experience a journey like this. I feel like it needed to happen. It allowed me, at this point in my career, to figure out how to take another step, find another level to my game.
The recovery process was a challenge. When life becomes routine, you can get complacent or bored. Sometimes throwing a wrench in the plan can help. It can wake you up and reignite a fire. It can take you back to where you need to be.
I think that’s something I needed and that’s why I appreciate the journey.