After begin selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, former Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland was looking forward to his rookie season as a professional football player.
Then, in August, he suffered a torn ACL and ended up missing the entire season.
He is back now, and is cleared to practice for the first time since the injury.
“It felt great just to get back out there on the field,” Ragland told BuffaloBills.com. “This week, the trainers just have me doing individual drills to get my legs back up under me, and we’re going to take it all day-by-day. It just depends on how my knee feels. But for the most part, it feels great.”
As a senior in 2015, Ragland recorded 102 total tackles (80 solo), with 6.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks as part of a Crimson Tide defense that finished No. 3 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 276.3 yards per game.
Ragland would have seen the field a lot as a rookie, and missing his chance to prove himself this past season was difficult, but knows that better days are ahead.
“It’s very tough because I’m a competitor,” Ragland said. “Coming from ‘Bama, playing at the highest level you can play at in college football and then coming to the pros … and then the GM and everybody have you pegged as the starter and you get out there and you’re playing and then that happens, it’s very tough. It’s very tough. But I know it happened for a reason, and I know I just got to keep getting stronger and just keep coming back mentally stronger, also.”