Six months after suffering a hip injury that ended his senior season, former Tennessee linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt is still on the mend.
“Preparation has been long; I’m still overcoming that injury I suffered against Oklahoma (in September),” Maggitt said. “It’s been very strategic in the sense of following the doctors’ orders, being patient, but also being aggressive in certain instances in rehabbing.”
The aggressiveness has been mostly limited. Maggitt said he won’t participate in all aspects of Tennessee’s pro day on Wednesday, but he will take part in some “controlled” position workouts.
Maggitt has been mostly cleared to return to full action. However, that won’t completely happen until offseason workouts or preseason camp. He still has to be careful.
“One or two days trying to do extra can waste all that time and set me back,” the former star from Dwyer High School (West Palm Beach, Fla.) told SEC Country on Tuesday.
This offseason — and maybe even this season — isn’t what Maggitt, or his doctors, are worried about. They’re thinking much further down the road.
“We’re taking a very cautious approach in everything we’ve been doing and doing what’s best long-term,” Maggitt said.
Maggitt has shown enough flashes to suggest he can be a versatile NFL player. He’s played linebacker and defensive end in 4-3 and 3-4 alignments.
“I understand outside linebacker from a 4-3 and outside linebacker from a 3-4, as well as defensive end,” he said.
That’s what most teams are looking for. It’s that type of flexibility that made Maggitt so good as a junior in 2014, when he had 11 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. However, a torn knee ligament as a sophomore in 2012 and the more recent hip injury will loom large among NFL teams. Maggitt maintains the hip injury is the only injury still ailing him, and that it is nearly 100 percent healed.
Maggitt has had some hard decisions to make throughout his Tennessee career. He could have left Tennessee after that breakout junior season. His stock was high. He decided to stay in order to help the Vols.
“I knew that Tennessee wasn’t exactly where we could be and I think this past season kind of put us over the hump in a sense of a standard and expectation coming in,” Maggitt said. “You know you’re not coming into a crappy organization (now). You know you have to come in and compete or you’ll be out. I think that getting Tennessee back (competitive) was my biggest goal.”
The next decision Maggitt had to make came following the hip injury last season. Maggitt could have tried to petition the NCAA for a sixth season, considering he had two serious injuries. Maggitt chose not to fight for more eligibility and wrote an open letter to fans thanking them for their support. Not trying to return to be a Vol for one more year wasn’t an easy choice.
“That was a hard decision,” Maggitt said. “I’d be at Tennessee as long as I could if that was possible, but after weighing everything — injuries and all that — having a chance to take my shot (at the NFL) and do it right now, I think that was the best decision.”
Of course, Maggitt doesn’t have to get drafted to prove he’s worthy for the NFL. There’s nothing wrong with a free agent contract.
“Getting drafted is a very high goal of every football player, but at the end of the day, it’s the end product,” Maggitt said. “Getting through this process. I know my abilities and I’m confident in my abilities when I am healthy. I know what I can bring to a team and an organization.”
Maggitt has had more to deal with beside his health. His involvement with the pending Title IX lawsuit against Tennessee has become very murky: Maggitt has been linked to an altercation with former Vol receiver Drae Bowles. Just how serious the altercation became is the question. Some have said Maggitt punched Bowles. Others have said it was simply verbal. Maggitt said he had to answer questions about the incident at the NFL Combine, even though he didn’t work out for scouts.
“The biggest thing I learned at the Combine is I’m my own business and the way I carry myself, the way I speak, I’m looking to get hired,” Maggitt said. “I think that was very good and I think Tennessee prepared me very well. … The first thing is I won’t be a liability in any way to an organization. I’ll be a guy that works hard. I have a strong passion for football. I think those three things are what stands out. … It’s come up a few times. I’m not worried about that impacting my stock. For people that know me, know my character and what I stand for, that’s not a big worry to me at all.”