Injuries have been a concern for the 2014 rookie class so far through training camp, but today’s practice was a step in the right direction as S
Pryor, our first-round pick (No. 18 overall) is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol after suffering the injury during a special teams drill on July 26. The “Louisville Slugger” started today wearing a red no-contact jersey but later went to the side field at SUNY Cortland to work with head athletic trainer John Mellody.
“I really wasn’t having any symptoms today and I was feeling pretty good,” he said. “I did a little evaluation on the side with a little contact by myself.”
“I felt a little rusty, but it was good to get back out there with the guys,” said Pryor, who has missed over a week of practice, “getting in and making some of the checks and making sure you’re on top of everything.”
Fellow rook McDougle also returned after dealing with a groin injury he sustained last week. He said being back out on the field with Pryor was a great feeling.
“It was good to see him out there, too. I know he’s feeling the same way, just excited about the preseason, excited about the season coming up,” the third-rounder said. “We’re taking it one day at a time, getting back on the field as soon as we can and making the most out of it.”
McDougle saw more action in team drills today than Pryor did, but the young men in the secondary said they’ve been paying attention in the classroom and being patient while returning from their injuries.
“I’ve made sure I’m attentive in all the meetings, making sure I keep asking questions to all my coaches and my teammates,” Pryor said. “I’m getting my mental reps. I’m not out there physically, but I can still me there mentally. It’s important I keep asking questions, making sure I’m on top of everything.”
McDougle said he’s been working on his skill during his recovery process, making sure to take care of his legs and upper body.
The bond that McDougle and Pryor have forged since entering the league, McDougle said, allowed the two to talk about their injuries while sidelined.
“Whether we were practicing or not or one of us was and one of us was not, we see each other outside of this. We don’t just talk on the field,” McDougle said. “That connection, that bond is made not just in the facility but outside of it as well. So we talked, but we’ve been talking since day one.”
Pryor’s status for the first preseason game against Indianapolis is uncertain. He said he’s taking it day by day and Ryan said that Pryor’s health is the ultimate concern.
“If he’s cleared and we feel good about that and he’s not at any risk, we’ll throw him out there,” Ryan said, adding that Pryor will need the reps in order to make up for lost time.
Known for his hitting while in college, Pryor said that despite his concussion, he will not change his physical approach to the safety position.
“I’m still going to be aggressive,” he said, “and play football how I know how to play football once I get back out there with the guys.”
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