Eric Norwood is more than ready for his return to the football field – his knee on the other hand, isn’t quite there.
Norwood tested out his knee for the first time since tearing his ACL in the western semi-final last year while playing for Hamilton.
Norwood spent the first six weeks of the season on the Riders six-game injured list, but he and the team wanted to test out his progress, so he practiced late last week.
“I think we got a pretty good gauge of things right now, and we know what to work on,” Norwood said. “There’s not many things I need, there’s not anything that’s really hindering me. It’s going really well.”
Norwood said the team isn’t quite sure yet when he’ll come back to play, adding there are just a few minor things they are tweaking before his return.
Although Norwood was injured, his release from Hamilton came as a surprise to many. Norwood was regarded as one of the league’s best pass rushers before his injury, amassing 24 sacks and 114 tackles over three seasons.
According to league rules around injured players Norwood would have had to agree to his May 3, 2016 release. He was signed by the Riders 10 days later.
“(The Riders) knew I couldn’t come in right off the bad, but they knew when I could help, I could help them big time,” he said.
During his rehab, Norwood is helping the rest of the defensive line where he can, though he says A.C. Leonard and Jonathan Newsome are doing pretty well on their own, calling them “athletic freaks”.
“I know these guys are only a couple steps away (from a sack) … every game.”
But seeing them out on the field also tests Norwood’s patience. He doesn’t want to rush things, but he’s ready to get back on the football field as soon as he is able.
“I’m going to go off,” he said of the day he returns. “It’s going to feel crazy. It’s going to feel like the first time I’ve ever played.”