| 3 years ago||
Allen Park – Nobody expected Ryan Broyles to be an active participant in the Lions’ offseason training program, not even Broyles himself. Coming off surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon -- which came a year after ACL surgery, which was preceded by ACL surgery on the other knee the year before that -- the ambitious hope was he’d be ready for training camp in August.
So it’s a tribute to his dedication and diligence and a testament to his desire to be the productive slot receiver the Lions thought he would be when they drafted him in the second round in 2012 that he has been there every day of the offseason program.
“Yeah, I am, to be honest,” Broyles said when asked if he was surprised at the pace of his recovery. “I hit it hard, therapy, back home in Texas. I came out here, and they’re still pacing me out right now. I’m going to be on a number count, but it feels good to be out where with no pain. That’s the best feeling.”
Wait. No pain?
“No pain,” he said. “I’m still building up my strength. My left calf is a little smaller than my right one, but I think in the next coupler months I’ll feel pretty good.”
Broyles said he didn’t know when the restrictions will be removed -- “I’m not the coach, I’m not the GM. I’m just a player out here trying to get better every day,” he said -- but he feels like he’s on track to a full recovery.
“Initially this (recovery process) is slower,” he said. “I was in a boot for six weeks and then basically crutches or a walking boot for another two weeks. Two months out I wasn’t doing anything. After the ACL surgery I’m up standing the next day. So this was initially a little bit slower to let the tendon heal.
“Once that thing gets attached and fully strong. They say six months it’s fully strong then you’re just trying to build strength to take pressure off that tendon.”
That’s where he’s at now, rebuilding strength. The third time through major rehabilitation, though, has taught Broyles the value of staying patient.
“You’ve got to just focus on the little things,” he said. “Everyone can go in there and hit weights strong, but it’s the way you balance the weight, the way you focus on your foot placement. It’s all tedious things that I’m working on right now.”
There are two things that are helping to push Broyles through the process. One is his excitement about the new offense and his potential role in it. He certainly has seen the success Saints receiver Lance Moore has had in this offense, but offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has added a few new wrinkles to it.
“I think they’re using the slot a little bit different,” he said. “This is (Lombardi’s) first go-round as offensive coordinator, so he’s going to have a little bit of a different flavor than the Saints.
“He’s going to put his own little touch to it, but it gives guys some freelance ability, either on the outside or inside. It’ll be different than last year.”
The second thing pushing him through is his unwavering faith that he will return to the form that made him the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver when he left Oklahoma.
“I work hard,” Broyles said. “At the end of the day, I work as hard as I can. That’s never changed. Through any injury, there is going to be a day when I am that Ryan Broyles again.
“Mentally, I feel like that’s the best thing you can have. I don’t have any doubts. As long as I go in this weight room, as long as I get out on the field and give 100 percent, that’s all I can do.”
From The Detroit News: