This week was a tough week. We played real well and got out to a good lead. You have to give the Texans credit. They never quit playing and came back to beat us. Obviously this is very frustrating for us. We definitely felt like we should have won the game. We had many chances to put the game away and were unable to do so. As a result we are 1-1. We could easily be 2-0 or we would easily be 0-2.
This game is truly a game of inches and close calls. The Al Pacino speech in Any Given Sunday comes to mind. You have to remember what I said last week; the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. This week we head to St. Louis, where, if we work hard and earn a victory, we will be 2-1, which isn’t a bad start.
Like I said, we head to St. Louis this week and play the Rams. They are a team that has lost two very close games. They are 0-2 but they could easily be 1-1 or 2-0 so we definitely cannot underestimate them. Obviously for me this is a homecoming of sorts. I played with the Rams for three years. I met some great people and made some great friends while living there. In fact I have a house for sale if anybody is interested. It’s a great deal, believe me. At this point we are just trying to get rid of it.
Parts of my time there were good and memorable, parts of it were not. The three years I spent there, we won 6 games and lost 42 games. That is a lot of humble pie. That’s a major reason I was so excited to come to here. The team had just signed Donovan McNabb, hired Coach Shanahan and the future is very bright. Obviously I am very excited to go back and have the chance to play in St. Louis again.
On a more personal note I would like to say that I am healthy, and I am getting tired of people telling me to stay healthy or wishing me good health. I appreciate the support, but I wish people would quit worrying. The end of my sophomore year in college through my second year in the NFL I played in about 70 games and only missed one. Not to mention that during that time I took more snaps than any d-lineman on my team at Nebraska and at St. Louis. I was in on every defensive package we had and I rarely came off the field, whether it was in practice or in the game.
It wasn’t until last year that I missed any significant time on the field. I had shoulder surgery the January after my rookie year in the league and they said it would take me six months to come back. I came back in five. Another teammate of mine had the same shoulder surgery four months prior to that and he still wasn’t ready to come back. I came back five months before he did.
I started my second year in the league with a shoulder that was 85% but I could play with it. The four games into that year I hurt my left ankle severely. I only missed one game because of it. Then a few games later I hurt my other shoulder, so much so that my surgically repaired shoulder became my good shoulder. I had two bad shoulders, a bad ankle and I was basically playing with one good limb but I was still playing. Whether I should have been playing or not is up for debate but I was out there. Then obviously my third year in the league, I was put on IR and had to have my other shoulder repaired. They told me again it would take six months. This time I came back in four.
After I came back from that surgery, I received the devastating news that I needed ankle surgery, although it was not a major surgery. A lot of people think I took last year off but to the contrary, I spent 2-3 hours a day rehabbing and two hours a day working out. That’s why I can argue right now with Phillip Daniels about who the strongest guy on the team is because I worked out until I was completely exhausted at night.
My defensive line coach in St. Louis, before I was traded, asked me how my strength was and I said “I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.” He asked me how that was possible since I was coming off a shoulder surgery and an ankle surgery just this past offseason. I said “I guarantee you’ve never seen anybody work as hard as I have to come back.” I’ve proven I can stay healthy for a long time, I’ve proven I can play hurt, and I’ve proven I can come back from injury. I’ve worked my tail off to prevent injuries. That doesn’t mean that a little tweak might not happen here and there. This is football we’re playing. If I do get hurt again, guess what? I will come back once again stronger than ever but I would be surprised if that were to happen. I am no more likely to get hurt than anybody else. I don’t think people realize how often football players get hurt, play with pain or have to have surgery. I can think of a lot of guys who have played games with injuries or missed significant time because they were hurt. What separates players is that some guys work hard to come back and some don’t. This game is what it is. Either you fold or you get stronger.
“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Adam Carriker