Patriots linebacker Tyrone McKenzie's rookie season did not turn out as he had hoped — the 2009 third-round pick spent the year on injured reserve. Despite spending the season on the sidelines, however, the linebacker made strides that will help him in 2010, ESPN.com reports.
After tearing his ACL in rookie minicamp drills last May, the 24-year-old McKenzie looks forward to competing on the field with his teammates next season.
"I'm excited for the season and the chance to get back out there with my teammates and coaches," McKenzie told ESPN.com. "I'm not going to put a timeline on it and say 'I'll be out there the first week of minicamp but it's been a situation where I've been counting down the days."
McKenzie will compete with Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton for playing time at inside linebacker in 2010, and is anxious to showcase his talents.
"I was excited to get out there and play some football and get back to the basics again after all the combine and draft [stuff], to just go out there and have fun, and then things happened," McKenzie said. "I'm going to leave that back there in the past. Right now, I'm just worried about the future."
A healthy McKenzie can provide solid contributions to the Patriots' linebacking corps, and his contributions should benefit the team's entire defense as well.