Dante Fowler Jr. spent all of one practice as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars before tearing his ACL and ending his rookie season prematurely.
But according to the NFL Network, Fowler knew what he was signing up for and vows to come back stronger than ever.
“That’s the game of football,” Fowler reasoned. “You’re out there laying your life on the line every play. You don’t know what’s going to happen. And this is just one of those unfortunate things. But I’m going to be able to bounce back.”
As reported by the Inquistr, Fowler’s knee buckled causing it to tear during the first rookie mini-camp held by the team. Despite never missing a game in high school or college, Fowler Jr. will now miss the entire year, Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley confirmed this week.
“Dante said through this adversity [he’s] going to come back bigger, stronger and use this opportunity for my advantage,” Bradley added. “What a great lesson for all the guys in the room.”
The Jaguars, meanwhile, are feeling optimistic that Dante will make a full recovery and be able to impact their team’s success be it this year or the next, according to ESPN. They plan on keeping him involved throughout the year despite the need for surgery. Gus Bradley also sounded upbeat about Dante Fowler Jr.’s chances at recovery and impact.
“I’m very optimistic after a chance to meet with him. His spirit, I see why we drafted him when we did. His spirit, his mindset going into this, I don’t know, I find it hard to be matched. For me, my concern was to know how he’s going to handle it and once I had a chance to visit with him, knowing what he’s going through, and how he’s going to attack this, very optimistic about Dante and how he’s going to do it.”
A torn ACL has actually become a very common sports injury these days, and recovering from one is nowhere near as arduous a task as it once was. Also, the chances the athlete recovers their athleticism to where it was prior to the injury are greater than ever. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, for example, has had to deal with three major knee surgeries to independently repair his ACL, MCL, and a meniscus tear. As evidenced by his recent play, Rose has fully recovered in the eyes of many sports insiders.
So, look for Fowler Jr. to rise again, even if Jaguars fans have to simply wait one extra year to see it.
“In the future, a year from now, we’ll be all smiling again and talking about me sacking people,” Dante said.
[Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images]