Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry is ready to play in a football game again.
The Packers’ first round choice from a year ago is healthy after missing the final 10 games of last season due to an injured wrist. Although it’s only a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night, it’s likely going to feel a little more important to Perry.
“I’ve been waiting for this since I got hurt,” he said. “It is going to be a blast to be out there and playing with my teammates, and to do my job and make an impact this year.”
Perry is viewing the preseason as a fresh start. Along with his wrist, he also injured a knee against the Houston Texans in Week 6. It was the last time he stepped on the field.
Perry finished with 18 total tackles and two sacks in his first season at linebacker after playing defensive end in college. He now feels he knows the system and position much better than he did last year when he was trying to survive.
The injury only was a blessing in that it let him sit back and learn a bit more.
“I think the main thing I learned was to be a student,” he said. “Me playing defensive end and converting to linebacker, I was thrown in the fire. I had to kind of rise to the occasion. Just getting the foundation for the scheme that we do and getting that edge.”
There were moments when Perry was playing that he felt comfortable at his new position, but they always were fleeting.
“There was a lot of stuff that I had to learn in a certain amount of time, and that’s when the pressure is on,” Perry said. “You have to try to grasp as much as you can.”
Perry still is wearing a brace on his wrist as a precaution, but it doesn’t limit him in what he can do. He isn’t certain he will wear it for the entire season, although it likely will be on against the Cardinals.
He describes the brace simply as a shield that will protect him from anything happening that he doesn’t have control over.
“It’s just to make sure that I don’t have any freak accident in practice,” Perry said. “It’s just something I do every day. I wear it just knowing that I feel good and I can go out there and play as opposed to worrying about something that could potentially happen.
“I want to be able to play the whole year and be healthy this year. That’s my main concern, regardless of whether I’m playing in the cast or not.”