It’s been a long time coming for Jason Verrett.
A breakout 2015 campaign cemented him as an elite corner in just his second season.
Unfortunately, the Pro Bowler’s 2016 season ended after just four games due to suffering an ACL injury. Surgery to repair it gave Verrett high hopes to bounce back a year ago. However, he just didn’t feel right. After just one week, the cornerback shut it down and once again went under the knife.
This time it was a success.
Now Jason Verrett is back to being the Jason Verrett of old.
“Just comparing, it’s a night and day difference to where I was at last year,” he said sitting at his locker, a broad smile plastered across his face. “I’m ready to get back to playing at the level I know I can play at.”
Verrett then takes a deep breath, his smile growing even wider.
“Man, I feel like me out there again. I feel like Feeva is coming back!”
Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley concurs.
“His skill set, what he has, his speed, his athleticism, his change of direction -- it is elite,” he said. “Just to see him go through the individuals sometimes, you see a guy come back from an injury like that, it takes some time. I don’t see it right now. The way he’s working out (and) the way he’s practicing, he’s in a really good place right now.”
Take a look at the best photos from day two of Chargers minicamp.
That’s a far cry from this time last year, which is why Verrett wasn’t shocked he had to have another surgery.
“I felt like something was wrong just because I know my body,” he explained. “I know how I’m supposed to feel, and I wasn’t feeling how I was. So I (thought) the surgery was needed…. Man, last year was tough. I was in a brace the whole time. (The brace) was like a little bit mentally and physically. But now being out of the brace, not even thinking, being able to cut and get out of my breaks, I’m able to cut and get back to where I was before.”
His next mission is to make people remember why he was regarded as one of the game’s lockdown corners. He’s still only 27 years old, and he’s looking to make up for lost time.
Having missed all but five games over the past two seasons, it’s fair to ask Verrett if he feels his name carries the same level of cache as it used to.
Does he still have the same level of respect around the league?
“I feel every year you have to prove it, but in my situation, being out for two seasons, I feel like I have to prove it,” he said matter-of-factly. “That’s something I strive to do each and every year. I want to prove the level that I know I can play at. So they are going to feel me out there!”
Verrett has another reason to make people remember his name.
He now shares it with his newborn son, so you can see why his name is so important to him.
“My name means everything to me,” he said. “For those that don’t know I just had a little boy. Jason Verrett Jr. We call him Deuce! He’s another reason to be motivated. Another reason to keep attacking every single day. I’ve got somebody who I’m trying to prepare life for. It means everything for him to (see me) in that Chargers jersey. I just want to set the example for him. I feel like all the adversity I’ve been going through is helping me prepare to be an even better father. Just so I can one day tell him, ‘Hey, there are going to be good days and bad days. Just keep fighting.’”