Quinten Rollins was training at his old college campus two weeks ago when – for the first time in his life – the Green Bay Packers cornerback's hamstring started to sting.
The second-round rookie was placed on the non-football injury list this week, meaning he failed to pass his physical because of an injury that happened when he was not with the team. Rollins confirmed Press-Gazette Media's report from Wednesday night that a pulled right hamstring delayed the start to his first training camp.
Rollins, who only played one year of college football, said he's never had a hamstring injury before. That includes his four years with the Miami (Ohio) University basketball team. He said there's no timetable for his return to the practice field. Trainers want to be cautious.
"That's really not up to me," Rollins said of his return. "That's really up to the trainers. Obviously, they know what they're doing. Whenever they feel like I'm ready to go, then that's when I'll be ready to go.
"They haven't really told me anything about it. It's just been getting as much treatment as I can, and no timetable."
Rollins didn't enjoy standing on the sideline when the Packers opened their training camp Thursday morning. Naturally, he wanted to practice with his teammates. He also knows hamstring injuries can linger, even when they're minor.
It's a lesson he learned from fellow Packers cornerback Casey Hayward. Two years ago, a re-aggravated hamstring pull sent Hayward to injured reserve. A year after his breakout rookie season, Hayward played only three games in 2013.
Rollins said Hayward has warned him to be patient with his recovery, instead of overexerting himself and risking further injury.
"We've definitely had many conversations," Rollins said. "… Just picking up as much advice as I can, because hamstrings are known to linger.
Training camp reps are precious for any rookie, especially one with a chance to play. Rollins, a slot cornerback, is competing for snaps in the Packers' defensive subpackages. With veteran Micah Hyde atop the depth chart, Rollins would have an uphill climb even without injury.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the injury "doesn't help" Rollins' development. Still, the rookie said his priority is learning the Packers defense, something he can do without wearing pads. On the sideline, Rollins said, he's following the action extensively.
"Just seeing everything from a different perspective," Rollins said. "I think sometimes when you're in practice, you're kind of focused on, 'What am I doing?' Or, 'What did I do last play? What's coming up next play?' Instead of just getting back and just seeing it from a big picture and being able to see both sides, what's going on both sides, offensively and defensively.
"Then, also, just making sure they've got the calls down right, and then when guys come in motion, seeing if you've got your checks right. Because sometimes when you're in there, you really can't do that. You're just so much glued onto what you have to do, so just overall seeing the big picture."
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