Rookie CB Chris Greenwood is just happy to be a football player again

Posted Oct 16, 2012

This week, Greenwood is expected to return to practice, five months removed from an abdominal tear and subsequent surgery back in May.

It’s been a long five months for rookie cornerback Chris Greenwood. Five months of sitting in meetings and studying film, but not being able to show his Lions coaches what he can do on the field.

But all that changes this week. This week, Greenwood is expected to return to practice, five months removed from an abdominal tear and subsequent surgery back in May.

“It probably will be my first one in pads,” said Greenwood, who was injured while breaking for the ball in an unpadded OTA practice. “I'm excited. I can't wait to get out there.”

More than anything, Greenwood said he can't wait to be a football player again.

There’s disconnect for injured players in the NFL. While their teammates are at practice, they’re working separate with the trainers. They typically don’t travel to road games with their teammates. When a player is injured, it’s easy to not feel like he’s a part of the team.

Knowing Greenwood would be eligible to return to practice from the PUP list following Week 6, the Lions took him to Philadelphia this past week on his first road trip with the team.

"It definitely feels like I'm more there,” Greenwood said Tuesday after an appearance at a Detroit Walgreens. “Getting to travel just made me feel closer to the team like I was that much closer to getting back on the field."

When he gets on the practice field, though, he’ll have to make up ground quick. Greenwood (6-1, 193) doesn’t have a big-time college background that he can lean on. The Lions drafted him in the fifth round out of Division III Albion College for his raw size and speed and were hoping to mold him through OTAs, minicamp and training camp. They obviously didn’t get that opportunity.

"I don't feel like I'm very far behind as far as the scheme and the playbook just because I can still look at my playbook and I can learn from watching,” Greenwood said.

“I feel like some of the other things as far as techniques and just little stuff that I can correct, I'll be able to pick up on quicker just because I've seen it done enough times the right way. And maybe a couple times not the right way. And just pick up on things and learn from other people's mistake."

But there’s no substitute to actually going through it yourself and learning from your own mistakes. Greenwood probably hasn’t had a really legitimate tongue-lashing from coaches yet. Isn’t that like a rookie right of passage?

"Hopefully I can just be able to make those adjustments before I make the mistake,” he said. "I'm going to come back and try to do everything I can.

“I've been rehabbing and getting back strong, going through drills and everything like that in my rehab to try and get back into that football shape. But there's no substitute for actually getting out there and doing it. I'm going to get out there and see how it feels, take it one day at a time."

As soon as Greenwood starts practicing, the Lions have a 21-day window before he must be activated to the 53-man roster, or he would be ineligible to play for the rest of the year.

Lions coaches will have to decide quickly if they think Greenwood can catch up and help them this season or wait until next year.