Detroit Lions confident cornerback Jeff Okudah will be ready for training camp – Detroit Lions Blog

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions are confident cornerback Jeff Okudah will be ready for training camp ahead of the 2022 season.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Okudah suffered a season-ending left Achilles tear early in the fourth quarter of Detroit’s 2021 season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Now that he is on his way back to the field, the organization is focusing on the confidence aspect of his recovery as much as the physical process.

“It’s the most important thing right now,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “We’re not worried about Jeff’s motor skills. You look at him, with his footwork and the things he does, he can do all that stuff.

“It’s very important right now… just continuing to grow mentally, and being able to get the passing reps and just getting the film study. Those things are important to him right now. So, it’s “It’s good to have him here, to have him available to do this. When the time is right, to go full speed ahead when we have him at camp, he’ll be ready.”

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Throughout the rehabilitation process, Okudah said he reached out to NBA players John Wall, who tore his Achilles tendon in December 2018, and DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his in January 2018, for advice on how they were able to recover from the injury. He also researched Achilles’ tears to learn more about his own situation.

“They just kind of gave me the assurance that the Achilles will be the least of your worries,” Okudah said. “It’s going to be about recovering mentally, taking care of the rest of your body, and for me it was really reassuring to go into the rehab process. So from there it was just attacking rehab since November.

Okudah entered last season with high expectations. But he admitted to hitting an emotional low in his aunt’s car hours after the injury.

“When I tore my Achilles tendon, my aunt came to pick me up and I couldn’t really walk,” he said. “I didn’t really know if it was a torn Achilles, but obviously I tried to stay optimistic in times like that. But the second I got in the car with my aunt, I broke down and started crying.

“A lot of emotions washed over me, and she’s never really seen me cry before, but I just had high hopes for this past year. So that day, I was depressed, and I felt like I was living a nightmare, honestly, so being here right now smiling is a blessing because I know where I was mentally and I’ve come a long way.

Okudah is limited in organized team activities this summer. He wouldn’t put a timetable on his return, but said he was confident he “will be ready when it’s time to be ready”.

Campbell said he was “very encouraged” by his rehabilitation process.

“He attacked surgery, rehab, he was here a lot,” Campbell said. “We’ve seen it a lot. He wanted to be around. So he would be here watching the tape with the guys, attending meetings.

“Sometimes he would come to train or race there, and so he was always engaged and wanted to be there. Look, he did a good job with that. Again, it’s not easy, it’s a hard thing to do, but it’s better than totally disengaging and walking away from it, and I don’t think that’s great for you either.

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