Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price is making great progress in his recovery from offseason pelvic surgery. A pelvic injury is what landed Price on injured reserve and caused him to miss most of the 2010 season. The 6-foot-1, 303-pound Price took the necessary steps to fix the issue that has plagued him since his junior year of college and is now taking much bigger steps toward a complete recovery.
“I started jogging longer,” Price said. “[Something that’s encouraging is] just being able to jog. Going from bed rest to not doing anything to jogging is a big step, so that was like the biggest step for me. Everybody noticed it.”
Price, 22, fully participated in the team’s walk-thru Friday morning and played freely in the afternoon practice scrimmages. While he’s not yet 100 percent healthy, it shouldn’t be much longer until he gets back to his college form. Price passed his training camp physical and knew all along that he would be ready to go for the start of camp.
“I already knew that I would be alright,” said Price. “Everybody else is making the article saying I am going to be on PUP. Everybody takes off and runs with it, but I will be alright. We have a great coaching staff and great training staff with Todd Toriscelli. He is great and they know what they are doing and they trust me with my judgment on how far I can go.”
Price had the chance to work with his new defensive line coaches for the first time this week and his pass rushing coach, Keith Millard, was encouraged with Price’s progress. Millard likes what he sees so far from the second-year pro.
“He’s doing really well now,” Millard said. “He’s coming off that ball and clubbing those bags and showing violence. He just has to fight through his soreness just like everybody. I have to fight through my soreness today.”
Millard doesn’t know exactly when Price is going to be completely healthy, however he is confident that it shouldn’t be too much longer before he can turn the UCLA product loose. Millard worked with Price in the weeks leading up to the 2010 draft, and has the knowledge of what Price looks like healthy.
“He’s getting close now. The thing that really surprised me yesterday was how explosive he is off the ball. This guy is quick now,” said Millard. “He is very violent. He showed that yesterday. We saw him doing some stuff. He showed that from the get go. Doing some other things. Get him comfortable in his body again. He’s going to be awesome.”
Price did not give a timeline either for when he expects to be fully recovered, but he has maintained a positive attitude through this process and continues to push forward.
“We are just taking it day by day pretty much,” said Price. “Whatever the coaches want me to do, I see if I can do it. I am going to try everything, but you know I am just mindful and just pushing it. I’m going hard, but just cannot play football. Even though I love to do it and I love to play it. If I got the go tomorrow, that would be great. It is just something that you got to go through. Like that rose that grew from the concrete, it had to get through concrete to bloom so that’s what I am saying.”
Head coach Raheem Morris praised Price for the positive mindset that he’s had through this whole process and is excited about Price’s future ahead of him.
“I give him a lot of credit for having the ability to come back at the strength he’s at and being ready to practice,” Morris said. “Most people go through those types of surgeries and they have to go through all different types of planning to get prepared and get ready, so I’m pretty excited to see where he’s going to be. I’m looking at his short space explosion, getting him into better shape, and having him around his football team and his coaches. I’m really excited what he’s going to be and what he’s going to bring to us. He’s got the mentality that we talk about. That even keel, ‘don’t worry about what your critics have to say’ type of [personality] and he’s developed that over the past year. He’s excited and I look forward to seeing him be productive and not at just 60 percent or 70 percent.”
The Bucs are expecting a lot from the 35th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. During his career at UCLA, Price had 12.5 sacks. He totaled 97 tackles, 44.5 tackles for a loss, and five forced fumbles. Price was also third in the nation in tackles for a loss his junior year. Before Price landed on injured reserve last season he had six tackles with one tackle for a loss in five games.
- Victoria Horchak contributed to this report