Andre Anthony’s long playing career at LSU ended abruptly last September, as he tore up the ACL in a disconnected game against the Michigan Midfielder. He first arrived in Baton Rouge in 2016, spending a year in a red shirt and then missing the following season due to a different knee injury. Anthony then played another four years with LSU, although the most recent as a grad student was only three games long for a season-ending accident.
Now Anthony is back on the football field just days after eight months of his injury against the Chippewas, participating in a junior camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers selected him in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft after not addressing the outside quarterback position in the first six rounds. Anthony hasn’t fully recovered yet – he expects to be full by the start of training camp – but he’s been involved in the drills and has a strategy to make a strong first impression while he’s not at his peak physically.
“Do more,” Anthony said of his approach to this stage of his transition from college to pro. “Do what you can do, and what you can do 100 percent, no matter what situation is chosen for you. Do what you can. And my attitude, when I get hurt, do what you can do, when they can do something hard in it so they can Seeing, “Well, he’s trying and he’s steadily developing.” Show that you know the rules of the game, so when it’s time to get out there [they say], “Well, we can trust he knows what he’s doing.” So it’s not just about just going out and seeing what you can do physically.”
Anthony’s 2017 experience with a similar injury has helped him through his current recovery process, both mentally and physically. It was a powerful blow to absorb it. After leading the Tigers with 5.5 Seniors sacks in 2020, he got off to a heady start in what should have been a show season for the NFL scouts. Anthony was among the national leaders in the sacks (3.5) and tackled a loss (4.0) before falling shortly before the break from the third game of the year. Earlier in that game, he picked up a bug and sent it back to land.
“Oh yeah, it was [emotional]Just because it’s your first year, Anthony said, you’ve obviously got off to a great start. emotions. But like I said, this is something I’ve been through [before]. I had an injury in my freshman year, so I kind of knew what to expect.”
This means that Anthony, who is nearing the end of his physical recovery, knows that the next big hurdle will be mental. He has to trust that his knee is ready to allow him to do all the things he used to do on the football field, at the same high level.
“That’s the process I’m having right now,” Anthony said. “Go out there and do the training and the team [drills] And stuff like that, just knowing like, “You’re fine.” Just try to push it in your head that you’re good, you’re cured. You just have to get used to the move and trust that it will be fine.”
The stakes are fairly high for Anthony. The Buccaneers could certainly use more depth at the edge of the lunge, but the seventh-round picks never guarantee a make-up for the 53-man roster. He could have used the remainder of his first season to continue sharpening his game and in recent months he could have focused on adding fast passing moves to his arsenal rather than working on getting his knee back. But Anthony has found another way to cash in on the rest of his final year at LSU, even if he doesn’t return to the field after week three.
Essentially, Anthony became a coach for LSU’s younger defenders, which in turn helped him learn more about his game. He was standing next to his fellow young men on the sidelines and pointing out things that were happening that they didn’t necessarily understand yet.
“I think the coaching kind of helped me in terms of the mental aspect of the game, to let them know what I saw,” Anthony recalls. “Maybe this will work, maybe that will work.” Same thing as coming here. You see some of the older guys that I’ve seen on TV, they see what they see, they just learn from each other. The main thing is that they say that the best way to learn is to train. I learned a lot about myself and some other things I could improve. It was good. “
One of the main lessons Anthony drew from that period of his life was to be relentless and creative in the field.
“Minnie stays active,” Anthony said of what he’ll focus on when he gets back at full speed. “Just not having one movement in my head and if that doesn’t work. Just some kind of activity, being violent. If that movement doesn’t work, move on to another one. Just keep going, because you never know when something is going to work and you can get there” .