76.8 F
Mobile
79.6 F
Huntsville
78.7 F
Birmingham
76.5 F
Montgomery

Kenyan Drake overcoming injury: ‘Once I put on those pads and helmet, I was back’

Kenyan Drake looks to return this fall. (Photo via UA Athletics)
Kenyan Drake looks to return this fall. (Photo via UA Athletics)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.–Alabama running back Kenyan Drake hasn’t played football since Oct. 4, 2014, but his return is on the way.

Breaking his leg against Ole Miss last season, Drake has been steadily getting healthier, expanding what he can do in workouts and practice.

“It seemed that once I put on those pads and helmet, I was back to normal,” Drake said. “Sometimes I’m reminded of it. As with anything you have to work through it.”

Just as Drake is nearing full health, Alabama wide receiver Cam Sims injured his ACL on Saturday. Alabama head coach Nick Saban did not mention a specific injury — like a sprain or a tear — but said the receiver would require surgery and be out for a while.

“It will be a lot of hard work for him to get back at all for next season,” Saban said “But we’re hopeful and we know what kind of person he is and he’ll work hard to do it.”

Drake knows what the journey back from a serious injury entails, and he offered some words of encouragement for the injured wide receiver, using an example of an other player with a similar injury.

“I was definitely bummed out for him, but football is a game of collisions, so those kinds of things happen,” Drake said. “He was definitely in high spirits and looking forward to the season. He has an injury similar to [cornerback] Eddie Jackson, who was back playing in the season, so he’s looking forward to it.”

Jackson injured his ACL in spring practice last season and was back on the field for the second game of the season against Florida Atlantic. With Alabama’s top three receivers — Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones — headed to the NFL, the return of Drake and Sims could be crucial for the team’s offense.

Being one of the more seasoned veterans on the team, particularly on the offense, Drake also weighed in on the team’s weekend. He echoed the sentiments of Saban and center Ryan Kelly concerning the recent string of player arrests.

“At the end of the day you can’t condone the behaviors they exhibited,” Drake said. “We came together as a team and realized that at the end of the day you have to be leaders on and off the field and accountable for your actions.”

But concerning things on the field, Drake was excited at the prospect of being in the backfield at the same time as running back Derrick Henry, and said he enjoys playing wide receiver as well as running back.

“We look forward to whatever Coach Kiffin has up his sleeve,” Drake said.

Drake’s speed hasn’t dipped since the injury, and he has no issues cutting or running through a straight line. Once he’s fully healthy, he should be back on the field doing things like this as Alabama’s most versatile weapon.

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.