GREEN BAY - Nick Perry’s career with the Green Bay Packers has been defined by one injury after another.
There was the broken wrist as a rookie in 2012. A broken foot in 2013. Shoulder surgery after the 2014 season. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound outside linebacker also played with a shoulder injury in 2015 while sporting a cast on his right hand after breaking some fingers early in the season.
But after signing a one-year contract worth $5 million in March, Perry is healthy and participating in the offseason program for the first time since 2013.
“It feels good being out here with the team and building chemistry early,” Perry said after organized team activities this past week. “Just being able to practice and get everything down, building that foundation moving forward into the season. I think that is huge, me being here and participating.”
Perry, 26, often wonders what could have happened if injuries hadn't limited him so much. But he knows there is nothing he can do about it. He’s just grateful finally to be healthy.
The past would suggest Perry won’t stay that way, but he believes in staying upbeat.
“I always see things as positive and things happen for a reason,” Perry said. “I got hurt. That’s just the game of football. It’s going to happen. You just try to do what you can to prevent those injuries from happening. … the next approach is getting better. Getting better and improving. Just enjoying this whole process, because it doesn’t last forever.”
Perry hopes to take his game and career to a new level this year, and it starts with being able to practice.
He had 31 tackles, 3½ sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games last season, but he was a bright spot during the postseason.
Perry had eight tackles, 3½ sacks and a forced fumble in two games, including 2½ of the team’s six sacks in a wild-card round victory over Washington.
“I definitely have seen him take a lot of his body work seriously,” said defensive lineman Mike Daniels, who was part of the Packers’ 2012 draft class with Perry. “He’s had some unfortunate history of injuries, but you can see he has detailed his work a lot more. I’m just happy. Happy he’s doing it.
“When you really watch film, when he’s healthy he beats some of the best guys in the league. When you watch that Redskins game. … every time we are in the playoffs, he just manages to get back there. He gets some good hits on the quarterbacks as well.”
Perry was getting healthy by the time the Packers played Washington, and he thought it helped showcase what he could do when close to 100 percent.
“I’ve always felt like my injuries have limited me in some regard,” Perry said. “I’ve always known my capabilities when I’m healthy. I think I’m in a good place to remain that way and take off where I really need to be. Where I’m really trying to go.”
Perry is playing for another contract, whether it’s here or elsewhere. He said he wasn’t bothered that the Packers declined his fifth-year option before last season and also wasn’t worried about his future.
But make no mistake: Perry is happy to be back in Green Bay.
“This is everything,” he said. “Knowing the system, good relationship with the coaches, players. A winning organization that has rich history. All of those things playing a part.
“You stay out of trouble here. There is not a lot going on, but it keeps you grounded on football and keeps you focused. I have a family now, so my focus is even more. The urgency is there. Everything fell in place. I felt like this is the right place for me, and they felt the same.”