Jamari Lattimore battled illness in 2013
Jamari Lattimore doesn't want to go into the details, but the Green Bay Packers' fourth-year inside linebacker said Friday that his 2013 season was besieged by an undisclosed illness.
Lattimore described the illness as a stomach virus mixed with an allergic reaction. He eventually was prescribed medicine, but it was a long and sometimes frustrating process to finding answers.
"If a person tells you they don't know what's wrong with you, how would you take it?" said Lattimore, who likely will start in place of an injured Brad Jones at inside linebacker this Sunday against the New York Jets.
"It was just something that was never diagnosed. They really don't know. I was stuck with a 'don't know.'"
It was difficult to notice. Outside of missing the first two days of training camp with what described at the time as "a gastrointestinal issue," Lattimore was available for 15 regular-season games and managed to have his most productive professional season.
Lattimore was only scratched from the Packers' Thanksgiving loss to Detroit with a quad injury. In his four starts in place of Jones, Lattimore finished with 35 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble and saw his defensive snaps jump from eight in 2012 to 265, along with another 271 on special teams.
All while not feeling quite like himself. He said it was similar to the colitis episode former Packers linebacker Terrell Manning quietly dealt with during training camp in 2012 only no one could find a bug associated with his illness.
"It's a lot to ask of your body to go out and play a whole game, plus everything else, plus not feeling good, plus on top of this, it's just a lot," Lattimore said. "You know, stuff can bring you down a little bit, but it really wasn't nothing."
Jones tried to play through a quad injury in last Thursday's 36-16 loss to Seattle, but his struggles were noticeable. Unable to practice either Wednesday or Thursday, the Packers already ruled Jones out prior to Saturday's final practice.
Although Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Lattimore and Sam Barrington will help fill the void, it's more likely Lattimore will be the one starting next to A.J. Hawk on Sunday with Hawk staying on the field as the lone linebacker in the dime subpackage.
The Packers gave Lattimore a one-year, $1.4 million restricted tender this offseason to keep him off the market. Now, they'll get a chance to see what he can do at 100 percent.
"I feel like this year is a good year. I feel good," Latitmore said. "Once you feel great, if anybody was sick like I was, once you feel great, you know that anything else is a plus."