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Penn State Football: Breneman Hopes to Wrap Up Recovery Over Summer

by on April 07, 2015 2:00 PM

You might say that Adam Breneman's career at Penn State hasn't been terribly fair, at least not to start.

Praised for taking the hard road and sticking with a troubled program, the highly touted tight end has been rewarded with an ACL injury to one knee and wear and tear on the other.

The first of the two injuries came before he ever stepped on campus, the second, after his freshman season, leading to him ultimately redshirting the 2014-15 campaign.

He has fallen victim to injury in two of the past three seasons.

But Breneman is always positive and forever focused on the big picture. He keeps plugging along. A silver lining -- his knee surgery not the result of any specific moment, but rather an internal wear and tear that needed to be attended to.

Seemingly as healthy as he has been in years, Breneman's road to recovery isn't done just yet, but it's a journey he hopes is in its final stages.

"I'm still in that process of getting fully active and it has been a long time since I've played football. So to expect to come out in the spring and expect to be full go when I first get out there is kind of unrealistic," Breneman said on Tuesday.  

"It's really just spring practice so there's no reason to really rush through it. Our goal is to get through spring practice without any problems and then get to the summer where I can train and be 100 percent. Last summer I wasn't healthy the whole summer. So to be able to train and go 100 percent and not have any setbacks and get my strength back to where I want it to be as far as my lower body, has kind of been the mentality as we go through the spring."

So far, Breneman has kept that mindset in the weeks leading up to the Blue White game. Getting better one day at a time, don't do too much, but keep pushing the envelope. It's a battle that is as much mental as it is physical. Believing that you're healthy can go a long way toward performing like you are healthy. As Breneman continues to work back up to his full strength, trusting his knee as much as he trusts his brain will be key.

"I have been full go this spring but it has had its limitations making sure we're not overdoing anything," Breneman added. "It has been good to get back in pads and out there with the team. To go through training camp and the season not playing you're kind of separated from the team in a lot of ways.

"So it's kind of good to get out there with my teammates to just be in pads again and with the tight ends. Just to get to know the playbook, I know the playbook, but until you actually get fast reps in a practice and game setting it's a lot different. To just be out there and do that kind of stuff is good. I have taken a lot of full speed reps in the spring but it's just about being cautious about how much I do.

"I would say that right now that I don't feel as athletic as I could be right now. That's because I haven't been running and I haven't been back for that long. Which is another reason why this summer is such a big summer for me. Because it's summer where I can go out and train with no restrictions and get back to where I want to be athletically.

"So there is a mental part of it, being confident in yourself, being confident in your leg and being confident in your ability to go out and get the job done and play at the high level. I'm almost there, but it's a process that I'm still working through."

The good news for Breneman is that time is on his side. Three years of eligibility is still in the tank and that could make all of the bumps in the road just a distant memory by the time his career is over.

But if the injury bug never leaves, it will have been a poor reward for nobly having taken the hard road that he's traveled.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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