Saints rookie Lyman not writing off season
Saints rookie Lyman not writing off season
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Of the 255 first-year players at the NFL Rookie Symposium last week in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., none was happier than Saints receiver Chase Lyman.
The fourth-round draft pick from California had spent the previous six weeks in his hometown of Los Altos Hills, Calif., isolated from his new club and teammates while rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee.
After lonely hours of treatment, Lyman was more than ready to join classmates for the league's intensive three-day orientation.
"It was great to see the guys again and hang out," Lyman said. "I can't wait to get to New Orleans."
Lyman has traveled the rehab road all too often. The surgery May 16 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament was his seventh in the past six years. That's a lot of scar tissue for a 22-year-old athlete.
Injuries limited him to eight starts and 34 games in a five-year career at California. He tore the ACL in his left knee Oct. 9 during the second half of a 23-17 loss to Southern California. He underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the knee Oct. 11 and missed the rest of his senior season.
Before that he suffered injuries to his ankle, groin, hamstring and hip, and endured a bout of appendicitis.
"I feel that everything I've gone through is just going to make me stronger," Lyman said. "It's a grind, but I've learned that life isn't easy."
That lesson was hammered home May 6 when Lyman's left leg buckled during a non-contact workout at the Saints training facility in Metairie. It was the first practice as professionals for the Saints' seven-man rookie class.
As Lyman lay on the field he knew another surgery and grueling six-month stint of rehab awaited.
"I went from being about as high as you can be to being about as low as you can be," Lyman said Friday. "I had made that same cut 100 times before. I try not to feel for sorry for myself. I try to keep a positive attitude at all times."
Lyman still wears a brace, but he has discarded his crutches. He has resisted the urge to jog or run even though his legs feel healthy again. Instead, he climbs the Stairmaster or rides an exercise bike.
"That's what got me in trouble last time," Lyman said. "I definitely pushed the first rehab as much as anyone can. I'm going to do exactly what doctors tell me this time and make sure I'm 100 percent recovered. I've learned my lesson."
The injury will not affect Lyman's contract status. Saints officials have assured him that they plan to honor the commitment they made when they selected him with the No. 118 overall pick of the fourth round.
Lyman also is protected by the collective bargaining agreement, which allows a player to file a grievance if he believes a team did not negotiate in good faith after the player was injured. The injury waiver Lyman signed before participating in minicamp stipulates that he receive a contract similar to ones signed by the player drafted at the same spot the previous year, plus a percentage increase.
The No. 118 pick last year, Jacksonville defensive tackle Anthony Maddox, received a four-year, $1.67 million deal that included a $400,000 signing bonus.
Saints officials, however, likely will wait to sign Lyman until right before the start of the regular season since he won't be cleared for on-field work until later in the regular season.
Regardless, Lyman is looking forward to reporting to training camp with the rest of the Saints July 29.
"We'll see," Lyman said. "I'm definitely not giving up on this season. I don't know if the Saints are counting on me or not, but I wouldn't write this year off."
HAWK TALK: Former Saints receiver Jerome Pathon is off to an inauspicious start with the Seattle Seahawks. He reported to camp last month about five pounds overweight, drawing the ire of Coach Mike Holmgren.
As a result, veteran Bobby Engram has vaulted ahead of him in the competition for the starting job opposite Darrell Jackson.
"Jerome has to get going a little bit, in my opinion," Holmgren said. "I don't think he's in great shape and our receivers run all the time. He just has to learn how we do things."
Pathon, 29, signed with Seattle this offseason after three years in New Orleans.
"He is entitled to his opinion; he is the head coach," Pathon said. "At the same time, this is offseason workouts and we still have to go out in the desert (at training camp) and run around for two or three weeks, right?"
LOCAL VOTES: Local fans can vote for a pair of deserving candidates for honors at the upcoming ESPY awards.
Former Saints linebacker Mark Fields is a candidate for best comeback. The Panthers' outside linebacker earned a Pro Bowl invitation after missing the 2003 season while battling Hodgkins disease.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, a former Isidore Newman School standout, is a finalist in three categories: best male athlete, best NFL player and best record-breaking performance.
Fans can vote at espn.go.com/espy2005/. The ESPY Awards show is July 17.
SAINTS NOTES: Congratulations to quarterback Aaron Brooks and running back Deuce McAllister. Both were recognized as Good Guys in the recent issue of the Sporting News for their community service. Among other things, McAllister donated $1 million to the Ole Miss athletic department. Brooks was acknowledged for his work in a summer reading program for disadvantaged kids. The Read to Pass program met its goal of having 10,000 kids read eight books last summer. . . . Recently hired Midwest area scout Kevin Beck resigned. That leaves the personnel department with two openings. The club still has not hired a replacement for pro scout Mike Baugh, who recently accepted the assistant director of player personnel position in Miami. . . . The contract for veteran free agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim will pay him a $690,000 base salary and includes a $25,000 signing bonus.
AUDIBLE: "I wondered if I could do this. Then I heard the Joe Horn story." -- Tampa Bay rookie wide receiver Larry Brackins, who was drafted in the fifth round out of Pearl River (Miss.) Community Colllege. Horn played at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College and two years in the CFL before joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
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Jeff Duncan can be reached at email@example.com or (504) 826-3405.
Re: Saints rookie Lyman not writing off season
RE: Re: Saints rookie Lyman not writing off season
Keep your head up Chase, you can do it! 8)
Lol at Pathon coming into camp 5 pounds over weight and they are making a big deal out of it. You can lose that much in less than a week. Geez.
Stand behind your guy papzy. :lol:
And you know it! :mrgreen:
Just thinking the same thing...
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