It was almost as if last year never happened for Jaguars running back Travis Etienne, who is entering his second season in the NFL after essentially redshirting his rookie year, recovering from major foot surgery.
Though he was in the building, his schedule was different, the ways in which he was able to interact with his teammates were different, at times it was lonely, he told reporters on Tuesday, the team’s second day of offseason strength and conditioning.
“It was kind of lonely for most of the part,” Etienne told reporters when he was asked about the recovery and rehabbing with fellow RB James Robinson. “Sad to say, but when [receiver Jamal] Agnew got hurt he kind of gave me company. So that made things a little easier just having somebody to confide in. and when James went down that was sad to see but gave me another person I could confide in.”
The injury that Etienne suffered is a serious one. A Lisfranc injury that typically keeps a player out for 9-12 months at a time, while getting to 100% is yet another hurdle to get over.
On Tuesday, Etienne provided an update on just how much progress he’s made thus far, indicating that he’s close to getting back up to full speed.
“Progress on my Lisfranc, I would say I’m about [in the] 85-90 percent area. I’m not doing everything but I’m doing the majority of the stuff,” he said.
“I got back, I want to say, I felt maybe like two or three weeks ago where I felt like I could really get back to myself, just being out there running full speed and just feeling fast, just running. It felt awesome just to be out there just running again. So, I would say I’m about 85-90 percent.”
That’s quite the recovery timetable for a running back, especially one that utilizes speed, explosion and cutting as Etienne has during his collegiate career and likely would carry over into his NFL career, too.
As far as when he will be 100%, Etienne reiterated that he felt like he was 100% three weeks ago, but ultimately it’s up to the team doctors to give him the all-clear. As of right now, the only limitations he has is how much weight he can put on the foot as far as squatting and weight lifting.
The only soreness he has at this point is perhaps after a long workout, but it’s almost as if he never had the injury in the first place, he says.
“I was talking to my mom about this the other day. Like, if I didn’t know I had a screw in my foot, I couldn’t tell. So, I feel like that’s a testament to like where I’m at in my transitioning, healing.”
#Jaguars RB Travis Etienne on if he had a different perspective on last year being away, and if he's glad he didn't have to go through *that*.— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) April 12, 2022
"If there was any year to miss, I missed a great one"
credit: https://t.co/fIdtZDPTvR pic.twitter.com/6bFhdRck9I
Still, that’s how hard he’s worked to get to this point, even though it wasn’t always easy.
“The most difficult part is just the time, just how long it takes to actually get back to yourself and just knowing how far the season is away. I would say the day-to-day,” Etienne said.
“I had to fall in love with the mundane, so I would say just waking up every day knowing that where you want to be, you’re not going to get there today and just put in that work. I would say just fall in love with the mundane.”
Falling in love with the mundane is essentially like doing the same thing over and over without much variation. At the very least, in a typical NFL season, there’s always something to work on, to look forward to, whether it be the next opponent or how you're going to attack that week of practice.
For Etienne, it was almost like sitting on the sidelines, like being a fan in the background of meetings and other ongoing of the Jaguars organization.
“I feel like I was looking at it from a fan standpoint,” Etienne said when asked if he had a different perspective of what went wrong last year. “Just being here every day. I felt I was a fan who was in the room with the players, basically. So I definitely had a different standpoint, perspective standpoint.”
Etienne was able to see the ins and outs of last year’s, frankly dysfunctional season under head coach Urban Meyer, able to know what to do and what not to do on a day-to-day basis. The Jaguars went 3-14 on the year, securing the No. 1 pick for a second-straight year. Though Etienne missed the entirety of it, perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
“Just seeing the results you definitely are like, if there was any year to miss, I missed a great one,” he said with a laugh, noting that certainly there’s a human element to everything.
Now, Etienne will continue his rehab, hoping to be 100% cleared by training camp, the same timetable head coach Doug Pederson has put out there when speaking with reporters earlier this offseason.
As for the new coaching staff, Etienne is excited about what’s ahead.
“Just going off of [Head Coach] Coach [Doug] Pederson’sresume, he’s won two Super Bowls, he’s been there. I think it was like 2017. He knows what he’s doing, so it’s easier to get behind a guy who’s been there, who has the blueprint,” Etienne said of the new staff.
“It’s just us trusting him and following his blueprint and I feel like things will work out. I’m definitely excited to see what the future has for us.”