My older cousin is Sean Taylor. That's the best football player I've ever seen play. I used to love watching him. I used to go to every UM (Miami) game at the Orange Bowl. We would work out together sometimes, but the age range was kind of big. So, a lot of the things he would do, I wasn't quite old enough to do yet. We probably would've been a whole lot closer now.
I was in school that day he was killed in 2007. Some kid was like, 'Hey, man, I heard Sean Taylor got shot.' I was like, 'What? No.' I was thinking it was just a joke. Later on in the day, I had another person ask me that. I started thinking, my mom really did call me this morning and my mom never calls me at 5:30 in the morning like that.
I left class and I called her and that's when she broke the news to me. She was at the hospital. I didn't go to the hospital, because I didn't want to be in that setting. Everyone was crying. It didn't even feel real. It definitely hit the whole family hard. When you have somebody like that in your family, it kind of becomes a focal point.
I went to the funeral. It got a lot of support from everybody. A lot of the NFL players were there. The Reverend Jesse Jackson came and spoke. It was a touching moment.
I have some of Sean's jerseys. I've got a Pro Bowl jersey. Gloves. All type of stuff. I never wore it in a game. But I definitely try to write it somewhere each game, try to put his name on the tape or the eye-black. I just try to use that as motivation for me, to do what he can't do anymore.
When you've seen somebody in your family do it, you know it's possible. I've got that blood running through me. You know you have it in you. Everybody's looking for me to keep it going. My mom, my dad — I would say most important would probably be my uncle, Michael Outar, because he was the one person that believed in me since I was younger, since I was a kid.
Coming up, I was small, so I got overlooked a lot. My uncle just stuck with it, stuck with me, brought me to different colleges to work out. He really built it from the ground up. He basically helped Sean the same way he did with me growing up with football.
My knee is doing good. I've got the full range of motion. But as far as the muscle strength, I think it's taking a little bit longer. I would say I'm maybe two weeks behind where I was last time, because they take out the piece of your patella that's connected to your quad, so it's a little tougher to get that quad back going. But it's getting there.
I can pretty much do everything except for leg extensions, because that puts a lot of stress on your graft, holding the weight like that and lifting it. I can do everything else — lunges, single-leg squat. I've also started doing some light jogging on this machine called an AlterG. It's an anti-gravity treadmill. The bottom half of your body is enclosed and it takes pressure off of your legs.
As I'm jogging, I'm going to start using more and more of my body weight until I can get up to full body weight jogging. Hopefully, within the next three weeks, I should be able to start running without any assistance, and then from there, as you get stronger, pick it up to running faster and faster.
The medical recheck in Indianapolis went great. Every team checked out the knee. They said I was ahead of schedule for only being two months out of surgery. I was overhearing some doctors talk to each other. Some of them believe I'll be able to play and contribute this year. Other ones are more so thinking about a redshirt kind of year.
I definitely think I'll be able to play this year. If a doctor thinks that's not best or say a team doesn't need me to play this year, I think that's fine. But I 100% believe I'll be able to play this year.
I visited with the Dolphins. I was supposed to work out there, but I couldn't. I was supposed to work out with the Patriots, but I couldn't. I can't really give it a percent chance, but I definitely think there is a chance I'll be drafted from talking to teams in the past couple days. Some teams still have me on their draft boards. And if not, some teams are already offering me free agency.
It is a good feeling that people are still interested. That's all I can ask for, is an opportunity. Either way, I'll be happy. I haven't even decided where I'll watch the draft yet, but it will be nothing major. Probably just chill with my mom, dad and my uncle, my brother. Those people are what motivate me each day to keep going.