After suffering his second season-ending Achilles injury in the span of less than two years last October, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said he wasn’t sure whether it would be easier to go through the rehab again because of familiarity or if it would be more difficult knowing how rigorous the process is.
Monday afternoon during a break from the team’s voluntary offseason workout program, Hall was happy to finally answer the question.
“It’s easier in that sense, just as far as I’ve been through it,” Hall said. “I know if something is going wrong on a certain day that it’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to affect me negatively in the long run. I used to get a little discouraged, but now it is what it is. Just keep working, go past it. The soreness will go away, and I’ll keep working.”
Hall tore his left Achilles in a game against Pittsburgh on Nov. 13, 2011, and vowed to be back by the start of training camp in 2012, which he was despite it being well ahead of the doctors’ forecast.
Last year Hall tore his right Achilles in Detroit on Oct. 20, and he has the same goal to be ready when camp begins in late July.
“Ever since I was able to get out of the cast and start rehabbing, we’ve kind of taken that approach to it,” Hall said. “The day I got out of the cast was the very start. When I get to training camp, everything in between was to make sure not only that my Achilles is ready but that the rest of my body was conditioned. The last thing I want to do is go in there and be a step behind some other guys as far as conditioning or how they are physically.”
The 29-year-old old said there have not been any setbacks, nor are there are limitations on the drills he can do.
“I feel pretty comfortable pretty much doing anything, whether it’s straight ahead, lateral type stuff, jumping, landing,” he said. “I think I’m pretty good to go with almost everything.
“A couple of months ago I realized that my right one was ahead just kind of comparing what I was doing at a certain point in the rehab with my other one a couple years ago,” Hall added. “We were probably a couple of weeks ahead, which after talking it over with (Bengals Director of Rehabilitation Nick Cosgray), we slowed down a little bit because we felt like there’s really no rush. I hurt my right one earlier in the season, so technically I have three more weeks of time. We’re trying to utilize the extra three weeks and just make sure that everything is going smoothly.”
As encouraging as his rehab has been, Hall is still months away from the first test of live competition. And for all the confidence he is exhibiting, there still has to be some concerns upstairs whether Hall will be the same player when he returns.
When you also factor in that cornerback Terence Newman is entering his 12th season and Adam Jones his eighth, it seems likely the Bengals will target a cornerback in the draft, possibly in the first round.
But Hall said that’s not something he worries about.
“I used to when I first got here,” he admitted. “Not just to see if they got cornerbacks. I just liked to watch. Now, I don’t know, it’s just so long. I’m kind of over it to be honest.
“It doesn’t matter if I watch it or not, they’ll bring in the same guy anyway,” he continued. “I try not to make things too difficult. If they bring in five corners, they’re going to bring in five corners and honestly we’re going to try to coach them up just like we’re going to coach the guys that are already here. So it’s not going to make any difference to me.”