After missed season, Etienne looks forward to ‘indulging in all the cake’ he can

After missed season, Etienne looks forward to ‘indulging in all the cake’ he can

Football

After missed season, Etienne looks forward to ‘indulging in all the cake’ he can

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Travis Etienne’s rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars ended before it really even got started.

The former Clemson star running back, and first-round pick of the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in the Jaguars’ second preseason game that required surgery and caused him to sit out his entire rookie campaign.

While being sidelined on Sundays wasn’t easy for Etienne, he was still involved in meetings during the week and did the bulk of his rehab at the team’s facility.

Though, for Etienne, missing his rookie year felt like going to a birthday party and not being able to eat cake.

“Being in meetings every day, it helped me in a way because I felt that I was a part of it,” Etienne told reporters this week. “I was like a little kid going to the birthday, but I just couldn’t have any birthday cake. That’s the best way I could put it. That’s how this year’s been for me.

“So, next year, I’m just looking forward to just indulging in all the cake that I can.”

The good news for Etienne, a consensus All-American at Clemson in 2020 as an all-purpose/athlete selection, is that his rehab is going well and he expects to be ready for training camp come July.

Etienne has been running in the pool as part of his rehab process and will begin running on the field soon. He hasn’t been able to squat in the weight room yet, though that’s the next step for him in his rehab.

“I definitely feel like as of now, I’ll be ready for training camp, I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “The next milestone for me is to get back doing weightlifting – Olympic weightlifting, like squats and stuff like that. I haven’t really been squatting because it is a Lisfranc injury and it’s on the bottom of the foot. So, the next step is getting back to doing those squats, getting my legs back right and get back to full speed running. I look forward to being at training camp and just being back to myself.”

Not only has he been recovering from the season-ending injury physically, but the missed year has allowed Etienne to reset mentally as well. He said he just had to slow down, take a step back and try to enjoy the process despite the difficult circumstances.

“I feel like God sat me down for a reason,” Etienne said. “This had been my first ever injury that I had to just step back and look at the game from the outside in. So, I feel like that gave me a different perspective, and I feel like when I come back, I just want to be more passionate than ever and not take those little moments for granted. Because I did get injured, I did miss my rookie season, and I never thought that would have happened. But it did, so I just feel like when I get back on that field, it’s going to be different for me.”

Etienne said he was told by doctors that he could have returned this season, but they recommended him sitting out the entire season so he could completely recover from the Lisfranc injury.

When he does finally return to action next season and take his first snap in an NFL regular season game — and once the butterflies go away — Etienne believes he’ll be the same explosive and dynamic player that left Clemson as the ACC career record-holder for rushing yards (4,952), total touchdowns (78), rushing touchdowns (70) and points (468).

“It was a Lisfranc injury, so I could’ve gotten back this season,” Etienne said. “But the doctors wanted me to take the whole season off, that way when I do get back, I’ll be 100 percent, I’ll be back to myself, and it’s like I never even got injured. So, that’s why we went about it this way, by taking the whole season off, that way I can be 100 percent whenever I get back.

“So, as soon as I step on the field, when I get the jitters out, I’m back to me. So, I really can’t wait for that moment, excited for that moment. I still don’t even know what it feels like really. So, whenever it’s time to get back and go, I’ll be 100 percent.”

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