After being limited during offseason workouts while recovering from a knee injury, Leonard Floyd practiced without restrictions during last week’s minicamp.
“I got the chance to go full speed for the first time, and then with training camp coming around, I’ll be full-go with everything,” said the Bears outside linebacker. “I’m ready to get to training camp, put the pads on and see how I do.”
Floyd missed the final six games last season after hurting his knee Nov. 19 in a loss to the Detroit Lions. After several months of rehab, the 2016 first-round draft pick from Georgia is confident that he has fully recovered from the injury.
“I feel great,” Floyd said. “I’ve been up here the whole offseason, working hard, trying to get back in shape, trying to get my leg right so I can be ready for the season.”
The Bears are eager to see how Floyd progresses when the pads come on in training camp.
“I think the biggest thing when you run into a knee issue like that is just having that trust in the knee and how it’s going to be with some of the different stunts and rushes that you have, the drops,” said coach Matt Nagy.
“For him, his strength is his size and his speed. We don’t have the pads on so he can’t go out there and really show. He’ll be out there in 7-on-7 and he has to pull up because he can’t do certain moves. So come back and ask me that question [in training camp].”
Floyd spent his first three NFL seasons learning from experienced outside linebackers Pernell McPhee, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston. But with all three veterans no longer with the team, Floyd intends to demonstrate some leadership ability of his own.
“Having them in the room, it gave me the opportunity to learn how to be a professional,” Floyd said. “Then they departed, so now it’s my turn to step up and be the leader of the room.”
Asked how he intends to be a leader, Floyd said: “Everything that comes with it—being accountable, knowing your playbook and going out and showing that I’m a leader and practicing like a leader.”
One young player that Floyd has already taken under his wing is rookie first-round draft pick Roquan Smith, an inside linebacker who played with Floyd at Georgia.
“I prayed that we were going to pick him,” Floyd said. “I was always every day in the meeting room saying. ‘Coach, we’ve got to get Roquan, we’ve got to get Roquan.’ I’m just glad they went and got him. He’s a great player.”