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Troutman Relishes First Taste of Pro Football
This is not the way Johnnie Troutman pictured his NFL career beginning.
As a young kid growing up in New Jersey, he never could have imagined injuring his pectoral just a few weeks before the NFL draft, requiring surgery that caused him to drop all the way to the fifth round.
He also couldn’t have pictured that it would take seven months for him to heal up and be healthy enough to take the field.
But there he was Wednesday, finally participating in his very first NFL practice as a member of the Chargers.
“It felt good to be out there and start moving around,” Troutman said. “I’m definitely a bit rusty. It was my first time practicing or putting my helmet on in months. But I went through the whole practice and I felt good. I wasn’t too tired because I worked hard on my conditioning over the last few months to help me out with coming back. So the transition back into football hasn’t been that bad.”
A hulking 6-foot-4, 330-pound guard, Troutman started the last three seasons for the Penn State Nittany Lions without allowing a sack and was a 2011 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection. Now that he’s returned, he is eligible to practice for the next 21 days before a decision needs to be made to activate him or not. After just one day, however, Troutman feels like he is on a quick path back to being the player he was before the injury and believes he can help this team immediately.
“This was only the first practice, and it felt good to be out there, but I can get a lot better,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I practiced that great, but I’m getting better every day and I think I will be back to being full strength sooner rather than later.”