Optimistic Rodney McLeod Has New Appreciation for Recovery

After months of rehab, Eagles safety Rodney McLeod expects to be ready for training camp when players report on July 24. 

"I think my body will be ready to go," McLeod said on Thursday after the last minicamp practice of the spring. "We just honestly have to figure out what that's going to look like, getting me back acclimated is the biggest thing."

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In recent practices, McLeod has been participating in individual drills but hasn't been participating in the team portions. That's the next step. Training camp starts almost exactly 10 months from when McLeod suffered the ACL injury that ended his 2018 season early. 

He's returning with a greater appreciation for just how hard it is to recover from a major injury. 

It was a humbling experience, I will say that. You never see what goes on day to day with these injuries that a lot of guys face, even guys like Carson (Wentz), Chris Maragos, all the guys that experience ACL injuries, Jason Peters. I leaned on those guys for advice, but I didn't really know what that was going to entail until I experienced it. I got a greater deal of respect for those guys to see them battle back and see them perform the way that they have. It's pretty remarkable. I'm hoping to do the same. Just excited to be back out there.

This was the first major injury of McLeod's career. Until last season, McLeod had played 97 of 99 possible games in his career. He played all 16 games from 2012-16 and missed just two games in the 2017 season (one of them was the meaningless regular season finale). This was all new. 

McLeod and fellow defensive back Ronald Darby helped each other through the recovery process. McLeod was already over a month into his recovery when Darby went down, so he was able to let him know what to expect. The two pushed each other in rehab, using a competition board in the training room. 

When asked about the hardest part of the process, McLeod said it was the lack of instant results. 

"You just really gotta trust the trainers and trust yourself," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing. Especially early, the first couple months. You're down and out and doing the same thing constantly, repeatedly and not to see the results you're really looking for. But one thing, you just gotta have those short-term goals and that's one thing that I've been focusing on so far."

The next short-term goal is to be ready for training camp. It's one McLeod expects to meet. After that, his goal will be to play in Week 1 alongside Malcolm Jenkins.

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