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Jeter takes ‘long road’ back to football

SEATTLE – All Colin Jeter wanted was an opportunity.

After finishing his career at LSU, the tight end wasn’t worried about where he would end up or how he would get there, but he wanted to keep playing football.

So, when he went undrafted, he signed with Indianapolis was ready to earn his spot on the Colts’ roster.

Then things took a turn.

He suffered a Jones fracture in his foot that required surgery and ended any chance of a rookie season. But, after taking the time to heal and rehab, he ended up with Tampa Bay. Then he suffered a concussion and was waived. His next stop was with Memphis in the AAF where he found out his initial foot injury didn’t heal properly.

Another season over before it had the chance to get started.

On Friday, though, Jeter was back doing what he loves. For the first time as a professional, he is healthy and playing football.

“It’s been kind of a long road, man,” he said. “I haven’t really gotten to play real football in three years now, so I’m just out here trying to have fun and play the game. I’m just trying to learn as much as possible, try to stay healthy and just help the team.”

When asked how it feels to be back on the field, Jeter smiled.

“It feels phenomenal, man,” he said. “For the past three years I’ve been doing the sucky part of football, rehabbing and lifting weights. I haven’t really gotten to enjoy a game or game-like situation, so coming out here, this is what I love to do. I’m having a blast doing it.”

After being forced into rehab and training for a few years now, Jeter said it didn’t take long to get back into his football rhythm.

“For anyone, it takes a few days to get back,” he said. “I always say, no matter how much you train in the offseason, those first two or three days of practice you’re always sore. It doesn’t matter what you do. There was definitely a little getting-back-into-it curve to get in game shape, but I think we’re all in it now and having fun.”

As the team moves through minicamp, the Dragons have added new elements to practices, slowly introducing helmets a few days ago and then shells on Friday, making it the most physical day of practice so far.

“It’s definitely a little nicer,” he said. “They’re not shoulder pads, but they’re close enough, so we can grab guys and really work on blocking and being physical. It gets back to real football. I think everyone enjoyed it. The closer you can get to the real game the better.”

Not only are practices started to build on their intensity, but players are also farther along in building their rapport.

“I think the tight end group is coming together strong – I think all the position groups on the team as a whole are coming together well,” he said. “We’re just out here trying to have fun, learning as much as possible.”