FOXBORO, Mass. — Dominique Easley is making important progress in his recovery from a torn right ACL just in time for the start of the New England Patriots’ 2014 season.
Easley participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time on Monday, which means that the Patriots think that his knee is healed enough to be on the field with 21 other players — there’s a bigger risk for tweaking an injury with more bodies falling around a recovering player.
Easley hasn’t participated in team drills since last September, when he tore his ACL during a practice with the Florida Gators.
“It feels good. It feels good,” Easley said Monday at Gillette Stadium after the last day of Patriots training camp. “I haven’t been out there for a long time, so it feels good.”
Easley wouldn’t say how his knee feels at this point, using a company line instead.
“I’m just trying to get better, you know,” Easley said.
The learning curve can be high for a Patriots rookie, especially for Easley, after missing most of training camp with an injury. Easley’s goal is to exceed Bill Belichick’s already lofty expectations in his first year.
“Bill holds a high expectation, so I’m just trying to work to his expectation and be better than that,” Easley said.
The Patriots selected Easley No. 29 overall in the 2014 NFL draft despite playing just three games for the Gators in 2013. He could wind up being the steal of the draft if he can get and stay healthy for the Patriots.