Cincinnati Bengals fullback Chris Pressley returned to the practice field Monday for the first time in nearly a year.
Pressley injured his knee Dec. 13, 2012, in a 34-13 win at Philadelphia, and he has been trying to work his way back to where he can play again ever since.
After being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start the season, Pressley has to be reinstated to the active 53-man roster by Dec. 10, or be forced to spend the rest of the regular season and playoffs on PUP.
Pressley talked about his progress for this week’s Bengals High Five:
How did it feel to get back on the practice field with your teammates?
It was a long time coming. I’ve been just chomping at the bit, working hard on the side with Nick (Cosgray, the team’s director of rehabilitation). This is Step 1. I want to help with the run game, and it’s one step at a time. Wednesday we put the pads on. Hopefully I can play soon enough and be back out there.
Did you ever get frustrated during the rehabilitation process?
It’s just so unexpected how it happens when you get an injury. I learned so much through it, just how you bounce back and I understand that nothing is forever. Back in the day, an injury like this you would be done. The fact that I can rehab it and actually get back to where I am running, I think that’s cool. I think that’s a blessing. It’s a testament to what a little bit of hard work can do and knowing you can get better. My teammates really encouraged me the whole time.
It’s been almost a year since it happened. Did you have a time frame in mind for your return?
I wanted to get back by training camp. That would have been great. At training camp I felt pretty good, but with an injury like this you just want to be at the optimal level. They said they didn’t want to rush it. The worst part would have been coming back prematurely. I think the coaches did a great job letting me know when the time is right, you will be out there.
Was having a time frame, something to point toward, helpful in the process?
Yeah, it’s helpful. But even when I was playing, I wasn’t always 100 percent. I am used to playing banged up. If they say ‘Chris go,’ I am strapping up and going. I don’t care. Especially how much I miss this thing. I wanted to go two months ago, but you have to be smart. You can’t be dumb tough.
How big of a vote of confidence is it that the team has kept you around after such a serious injury?
It’s huge. Any minute they could be like, ‘Chris, injury settlement.’ They could be done with me. At least they had the patience to see what you can do, get better, we are going to be with you through it. That says a lot about the (Brown family). I could have been gone a long time ago. But they’re giving me an opportunity. I am not going to let them down.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) at San Diego Chargers (5-6), 4:25 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 7, 12, 700-AM, 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM