Running back Darren McFadden practiced last month for the first time since he suffered a severe foot injury. On Tuesday, he met with the media for the first time since last October, when he went down with the injury against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here is the entire transcript:
Q: How did it feel to be out there?
McFadden: Felt good, being able to be out there on the field, be with my teammates, be out there running plays and feeling like myself.
Q: Can you do everything you want to do?
McFadden: I’m full speed ahead.
Q: What have the last seven months been like, to have the week to week thing during the season?
McFadden: It was one of those things where you just hated it. Week after week you’re trying to get out there, and you can’t get out there because your foot won’t let you. One of those deals, you have to just keep going, keep pushing for it. Injuries like that take a lot of time to heal up so it’s not something you can just get back out there on too soon.
Q: A freak injury or something you have to worry about re-injuring?
McFadden: It was just a freak thing, you know. I’m going out there and playing like it never happened. I’m not going to worry about it. My thing is, just go out there and play hard. I can’t control the things that happen when you go out there and get tackled, so I just go hard every play.
Q: Did it hurt bad?
McFadden: At the time it happened it didn’t hurt bad. It hurt worse the next day than it did when it happened.
Q: What did it feel like when you tried to do things on it when it was hurting?
McFadden: When I first did it it was like a dull pain, then after that, the next day, I pretty much couldn’t get on my toes at all.
Q: How did you do it?
McFadden: Caught a checkdown over the middle and when I got tackled the guy fell on the back of my leg.
Q: When did you first know you were back, a month ago, two months ago?
McFadden: I just started running at the beginning of April, so I wouldn’t say I felt like I was all the way back then, because I was still having little problems, just sorness and stuff, but I guess within the last month or so I was feeling pretty good.
Q: How much did injury affect your personality. You get so much joy out of playing football, then to have it taken away . .
McFadden: It’ll get you down. Being out there and having injuries like that, it’s one of those things you want to be back out there playing and you can’t do anything about it so it can get you down a lot.
Q: How did it get you down, stay in room, look out a window . . . what were you doing?
McFadden: Avoiding the media.
Q: Did you do anything else?
McFadden: No, it was pretty much just staying out of sight. I didn’t want to be in sight if I wasn’t doing anything. Wasn’t no point for me to talk to the media. I wasn’t playing, so I didn’t feel a need to.
Q: You’ve got a rep of a player with a reputation of a terrific player who gets hurt and can’t play a whole season. Does that trouble you?
McFadden: Everybody has their own opinion, so, for me, I’m just going out there playing, going hard, if I get hurt, so be it. I could see if it was just going down the street, falling over, getting hurt, that’s different, but I’m out t here playing hard when I get hurt. Everybody got their own opinions, so, hey.
Q: Feel you’re that kind of player that tends to get hurt or think you’ve put it behind you?
McFadden: It’s all behind me. Like I say, I’m going out there, playing hard. If I get hurt going hard I can’t do anything about it.
Q: Two years here, scheme was exclusively zone, numbers not as good as following two years when got away from zone runs. Now going back to it. Greg Knapp, Kelly Skipper saying you can run any scheme? Did you have trouble running zone first two years?
McFadden: I’m like the coaches say. I feel I can fit in any scheme running the ball. Now I feel like I’ve got my feet wet in the NFL, now I have my confidence boosted, so it’s just, going out there and playing with confidence I’m going to go out there and run the ball.
Q: Do anything different running zone, power, same thing?
McFadden: It’s the same thing, running behind the blockers and making the right cuts, and making the right reads, and going.
First time with Carson Palmer. Feel good?
I am looking forward getting out on the field and playing games with him. I could see last year that he was a great quarterback and took control of the huddle. He made the right calls, the right reads and got us in the right situation.
What are your first impressions of the new offense?
Being out here, I see a lot of young guys making plays. I am looking forward to getting out there on the field and putting everything together.
What’s your relationship with the coach?
It’s a coach-player relationship.
What do you see from him?
He is a great coach. He is very intense. If guys something to get out of him, he is going to get it out of them.
You watch TMZ at all?
Every now and then.
You get a lot of flak from teammates about that report?
Yeah, they’re all going to throw their jokes in there, but it is what it is.
Any comment on the Rihanna report?
I don’t have a comment.
Do you have to wear anything in the shoes, anything different? New shoes?
For the most part, I am going to stick with the steel plates in my cleats and make those work for me. It was a freak accident that happened and there is not much you can do to prevent it.
First time with no Mike Bush
It’s going to be different but that’s part of the game. That’s my boy and we still stay in touch.
Filling his shoes on the field?
We have a lot of young backs that we brought in and I am sure they’re going to do a great job filling in.
Now that you’re healthy, do you ever think of how good you can be?
I think about it all the time. You want to be the best player. That’s the kind of guy I am, I want to be the best. I don’t want to just be out there. So I am going to keep working hard, look forward to the season and be the best that I can be.
You said you had numbers in mind last year. What were they?
I was hoping to get 1,800 rushing yards, but it didn’t work out that way. I will keep pushing for it this year and hopefully get to those goals.
Do you think your receiving skills could be utilized even more this year in the new offense?
Coach Knapp is going to have a lot of great plays in, getting the H split out, so I am looking forward to that. I am a very versatile player and I like getting out there wide and catching the ball.