ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Leading up to the 2011 season, cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson looked poised for a breakout campaign.
After tying for the team lead with two interceptions as a rookie, the former seventh-round pick put together quite the sophomore training camp.
It seemed that every day Thompson was flying to the ball, making interception after interception. He tied for eighth on the team during the preseason with eight tackles -- all solo.
But all that work was cut short when Thompson injured his Achilles in the team's preseason finale. He was placed on injured reserve on September 3, missing the entire 2011 campaign.
"It's tough sitting out with an injury and having to watch the team compete and work all season," Thompson said. "Especially when we had a good run and got to go to the playoffs, it's kind of tough watching."
He spent the season rehabbing with Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos, attending meetings with his teammates and staying involved mentally.
This offseason, it's been all about getting back involved physically.
When OTAs kicked off in May, Thompson expected to feel stiff as he shook off the rust. But he was pleasantly surprised.
"I'm a lot more mobile than what I thought I was going to be," he said. "It feels good."
After being unable to play football for nine months, Thompson wanted to get his foot used to the type of movement required of him.
He called OTAs and minicamp "kind of like the last phase of my rehab, getting out here and doing this movement. Getting that burst, my feet right, my plants right, cutting and everything right."
With training camp set to kick off Thursday morning, Thompson hopes all his hard work has paid off. Between the last day of minicamp and the first day of training camp, he hasn't stopped working, looking to be in "the best shape possible."
He knows he has a battle ahead of him during camp, as the team added several pieces to the secondary during the offseason, including cornerbacks Omar Bolden, Drayton Florence and Tracy Porter.
But that doesn't bother Thompson. In fact, he welcomes it.
"We got a lot better -- that's a good thing," he said. "Every good player wants competition. It brings out the best in you. You know every day that you come out you can't take a day off. When somebody does something good, that pushes the next person to do something better. Compete and make each other better, that's what it's all about."
With his third NFL training camp a day away, Thompson isn't dwelling on the fact that last season was taken away from him. He's ready to make an impression in 2012.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I felt like I had a good camp last year, but that was the past. I got hurt. Now it's just about getting better than I was last year. Getting over the foot injury. By camp, I should be all-the-way ready. I just want to come out and compete. Try to earn a job and be better than I was last year."
"Come out and play," he continued. "Come out and compete. That's all it is."