ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –** Rookie Adam Gotsis' return to the football field is drawing near.
After a nine-month recovery process from a torn ACL in his left knee, Gotsis said Wednesday he felt he was on track to return near the beginning of the Broncos' training camp.
"I feel like, come training camp, it might be a couple days before they throw me in there with full-contact type stuff," Gotsis said, "but I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling real confident and ready to get back out there with the team."
During Denver's OTA sessions, the second-round draft pick worked out off to the side and took mental repetitions during team periods. The Broncos will hold their first training camp practice on Thursday, July 28.
Part of Gotsis' recovery plan was to remain in Denver for the break between OTAs and training camp. With few players in town, the defensive tackle said he's been able to concentrate on his journey back from a torn ACL.
"I've been here rehabbing, working out," Gotsis said. "There's been a group of us guys here and been working hard, so it's just every day. … Now everything's just focused on football and getting back out there on the field."
For at least a few days, however, Gotsis had the chance to return home to Melbourne, Australia. Gotsis said he hadn't been home in about a year and a half, so he relished the time to see his family and old friends. He sorted out his visa paperwork and also got the opportunity to be "a regular dude again." He and his friends watched Australian rules football, which he said gave him necessary time to relax and get his mind off the American game.
And when Gotsis was home, he saw an outpouring of support from those closest to him.
"It was awesome," Gotsis said. "A lot of my friends and family showing their support and they've been with me since Day 1 since I tried to do this and came over to college. A lot of them were just real proud of me. They don't see a lot of the hard work that goes in, but they hear about it when I talk to them, so it's just cool that they finally saw everything pay off for me. And it's good to see what they're getting up to. Things change in a year. A lot of things changed for me and it's good to see how guys have changed and what's happened in their lives, too."
But Gotsis is back in Denver now, and with just two weeks remaining before training camp, he's eager to return to football. Nearly nine months have passed since Gotsis tore his ACL during an Oct. 31 game against the University of Virginia, and he's clearly missed the game.
"You can't describe that feeling, [of having] something like that taken from you," Gotsis said. "Now it's like you've worked so hard to get back to where you were – it's a big time thing. I'm just ready to get back out there and compete and do all I can do."