Penn State Football: Sickels Makes Most Of Opportunity With Solid Pro Day
Garrett Sickels sat in the passenger seat on his trek across Pennsylvania back to Penn State, a nostalgic drive back through parts of the state he hasn't seen in ages.
The driver, his former teammate and now New York Jet, Christian Hackenberg.
"We mostly talked about football and Xbox," Sickels said after his Pro Day workout on Thursday afternoon, a small smile on his face as he reminisced spending time with one of his best friends.
From there Sickels and Hackenberg went to Best Buy, picking up a copy of the recently released Ghost Recon game. Then the next few hours upending a violent cartel hidden in the a desolate Mexican landscape. This was no half measure either, the two used a projector to display the game on the wall, each wearing gaming headsets to talk to each other.
"We really nerded out." Sickels said laughing.
For both it was a welcome respite from the stresses of professional football. Hackenberg, the uncertainty of what lies ahead, and Sickels, the fallout of a difficult result at the NFL Combine.
"I had some of my worst numbers ever," Sickels said looking back at his performance in Indianapolis. The defensive end's struggles were unexpected and his athleticism and speed were never really showcased.
So by the time Thursday rolled around he was one of the few that truly had something to prove. Receiver Chris Godwin had a lights-out combine, only running few routes for the scouts in attendance, dropping just a single pass. There was little left for him to prove.
Sickels though, he did everything for everyone and got the most out of the opportunity.
"I put up some personal bests," Sickels said. "It was huge, I really checked some boxes off for myself."
Now, like everyone else, Sickels will wait. This time it will be from the comforts of California as he and Hackenberg head out west to hit the weights and maybe the video games again.
But on the biggest day of his career Sickels delivered, a rarity for many, but a welcome sight for a player who left early to make the leap towards that dream.
"I haven't looked back," Sickels said.
After Thursday, it's hard to blame him.