Though the San Diego Chargers have received some bad news this offseason with regards to player health and torn ACLs, the team got some good news on Friday. Second-year strong safety Brandon Taylor was activated off of the Physical Unable to Perform List and saw his first practice since tearing his ACL in December.
Taylor has impressed the coaching and training staff with his progress and has worked tirelessly all offseason for this moment to get back on the field.
“No days off. No time off,” Taylor said. “You’ve just got to have that mindset on the goal of coming back. … The process is very humbling. You want to get back out there but you know you have to be all the way right to get back out there. You don’t want anything else to happen that can set you back. Just to be out there now is a dream come true.”
The Chargers must be careful with how they handle his return so to not cause any setbacks or risks to his long-term health. It’s still unknown when or if Taylor will be able to play in preseason. Taylor is still limited in practice, participating in individual drills, and has to get back to game speed.
You have to admire Taylor’s commitment and determination to get back on the field, but you also have to wonder if he really can be ready, just seven months after tearing his ACL. A torn ACL usually takes 8-12 months to heal and even longer to get full confidence in moving full speed. Few players heal like Adrian Peterson, and Taylor will definitely need to continue gaining strength and confidence in his knee.
Taylor is definitely behind Marcus Gilchrist in the race for the starting strong safety position, but his activation from the PUP this early in training camp should give him enough time at least be in the mix for playing time in 2013. However, not being available in OTAs, minicamp, as well as the little playing time he received in his rookie season could hold him back. It’s definitely Gilchrist’s job to lose, but Taylor will certainly be in the mix as early as Week 1.