ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Tim Patrick has heard the common refrain.
Many believe that when a player returns from a serious injury, particularly to the knee, it can take a couple of years before that player reaches his previous heights.
Patrick isn't interested in that narrative.
As he returns from the season-ending knee injury he suffered in last year's training camp, Patrick expects to return to his previous production in 2023.
"I've always got something to prove," Patrick said Tuesday. "I think my whole mindset is just being a better version of myself. I see some of the stuff you guys say and handicap you your first year and then second year [after the injury is] the best year. I throw all that [stuff] out the window. My best year's going to be right after."
In his final two seasons before his injury, Patrick started 31 of a possible 33 games and caught 104 combined passes for 1,476 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the team's wide receivers in all three categories.
Patrick said he feels good and healthy in his return to the field, and he's working to regain his previous ability to see the entire field while on offense.
"Honestly, I felt great today," Patrick said. "Me [being] out there felt good. I think the thing I need to get back is just seeing the whole field. I think right now, I'm just so tunnel vision of making sure I do the right thing and learning the new offense. … You ever play Madden where [when] your QB's on you see the whole field, when he's off it's small? Right now, mine's just small right now. But I'm going to still make plays. I'm just not seeing the whole field."
Patrick said he always had the mindset that he would return to the field, as the current injury was not as severe as a broken leg he suffered in college. The Utah product, though, did watch film of his own game and lean on his family and teammates to remain positive.
"It's just a daily reminder that it's a long road and it's not going to happen overnight," Patrick said.
The return has been long awaited, and he looked ahead to this day even as he underwent surgery. Patrick said he specifically sought out Dr. Neal ElAttrache for his work with 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
"That was my decision of going to him," Patrick said, "because the guys he has done recently have came back better than they were before."
As Patrick returns to the field, he'll have that same focus.
In Patrick's limited time around second-round pick Marvin Mims Jr., the veteran receiver can already see the Oklahoma product's on-field speed.
"He's fast, I'll tell you that," Patrick said. "He's fast. I think his ceiling is very high and he's going to have a big role this year."