Thursday, July 15, 2004

DE Jamal Reynolds has come back (after flunking his physical with Indianapolis) and now has left again (having been released), according to various news sources. It is a weird situation because Reynolds was healthy enough to participate in two mini-camps with the Packers, but now Indianapolis is blaming a 2002 knee injury and surgery?

Maybe Reynolds was undersized to play at defensive end, but it could be that his knee injury ended his career before it ever started. Reynolds had microfacture surgery on his knee, the microfacture procedure attempts to regrow cartilage, and players have rarely come back from it to play at a high level.

Retired DT Eric Swann and DT John Randle never were the same impact players after they had the surgery. CB Jason Sehorn was a superstar, but now after the surgery he has been released by two different teams in two consecutive seasons. Denver OL Dan Neil has come back from it, but Denver's offensive line is only just slightly above average according to Carolina RB DeShawn Foster has come back from it to have an outstanding 2003 playoffs, but rated him as one of the worst running backs during the 2003 regular season. LB Kevin Hardy has come back from it and had two solid seasons in Dallas and Cincinnati, but it does not appear that anyone considers Hardy a premier linebacker anymore.

Various articles on Reynolds over the years have questioned his work ethic, but even if that rumor is true, its hard for someone with superior physical skills to immediately turn himself around into an overachiever type player when suddenly the explosiveness that he used to take for granted is gone. It is unlikely that Reynolds will get a second chance in the NFL, because teams are unlikely to take chances on defensive linemen with knee problems (see fellow "can't miss" Florida State alum DE Andre Wadsworth as Exhibit A). In the end, Reynolds was a talented player who's career was derailed by injuries before it ever got a chance to start.

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