Packers inside linebacker Robert Francois should be close to or at full strength from Achilles tendon surgery when the NFL’s offseason workout program starts for teams in mid-April.
Francois, who will be an unrestricted free agent starting March 11, sustained the injury Oct. 6 in the Packers’ home game against Detroit. Offseason workout programs for most NFL teams start April 21 — teams with new head coaches can start two weeks earlier — and Francois will be 61/2 months removed from surgery at that point.
With medical advancements in recent years, players often return to the field starting around six months after Achilles surgery, though it can take several months more before they’re at their pre-injury level of performance. San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree sustained a torn Achilles last May and was back on the field Dec. 1.
“(Francois) will be extremely functional at that point,” Noel LaMontagne, Francois’ agent, said about the start of the offseason program. “I don’t know if he’ll be cleared full go or if he’ll just be just doing individual for the first month, that will be up to the doctors.”
LaMontagne said he only exchanged greetings with Packers executives at the Senior Bowl last week and probably will talk to them at the scouting combine in February about the possibility of the team re-signing Francois.
Francois, who will be 29 in May, has played four seasons with the Packers. He’s been almost exclusively a backup and special teams player, but his injury cost him the chance of possibly starting several games, because inside linebacker Brad Jones sustained a hamstring injury in that Oct. 6 game that sidelined him for three weeks. Francois sustained his injury after replacing Jones.
Francois has been rehabilitating his Achilles in the Minneapolis area but will return to Green Bay soon to work with the Packers’ medical staff. The Packers probably will want to gauge Francois’ recovery and explosiveness to determine whether to offer him a contract.
“He’s going to be 100 percent in plenty of time to go through everything (in the offseason),” LaMontagne said. “I’d have to imagine there’d be interest there, but it’s their call. We’ll have to see.”