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Myers Will Play It Safe After Knee Injury

The hand-picked successor to All-Pro Corey Linsley, second-round pick Josh Myers played barely one-fourth of the snaps as a rookie.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – One knee injury is more than enough for Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers.

Myers has been wearing knee braces throughout the offseason practices. It’s not just a precautionary measure for the practice field or a way to help ensure his safety until training camp. Rather, that’s how Myers intends to play this season.

“I am planning on wearing double knee braces on both of my knees,” Myers said after Tuesday’s organized team activity. “Just protect them. Done with that. That’s my plan and I feel good about it.”

Knee braces aren’t nationally mandated by the NCAA but they’re almost universally used as they’re required by most schools. However, they’re rarely used in the NFL – in practices or games – as players try to get every little advantage possible. While braces protect knees, they come with an unavoidable trade-off. Braces prevent knees from being bent or twisted the wrong way, so they also decrease mobility. That’s a big deal when you have to block Aaron Donald or get in front of Roquan Smith on a screen.

“They’re not super-light, they’re not super-flexible, so those are the areas where they affect you the most,” Myers said. “Sometimes they make your legs a little more tired but those are all things I’m willing to work around.”

You can hardly blame Myers after injuries limited him to about 26 percent playing time last season as the team’s second-round pick and hand-picked successor to All-Pro center Corey Linsley.

Myers, the first center off the board in the 2021 draft, played through a broken finger for the first four games of the season, then missed the Week 5 game at Cincinnati when the finger became infected. He returned a week later but suffered a knee injury on his fourth play at Chicago. It was actually two injuries, a torn medial collateral ligament and tibial plateau fracture, that required two surgeries.

Myers missed 10 games, finally returning for the Week 18 finale at Detroit and the playoff loss to San Francisco.

“After the surgery, I kind of just decided that one knee surgery was good enough for me. I didn’t really feel like having two,” Myers said. “The knee braces for me, they really don’t bother me that much. So, I felt like it was a small sacrifice to make to protect my knees.”

Having started all of Ohio State’s 21 games during his final two seasons, sitting out for a lengthy period only added to the pain.

“I learned a lot about myself. It was an incredibly difficult time, if I’m being honest,” he said. He added, “It was just such a different experience. I learned how to push through. I’ve been able to push through things physically when it’s challenging. When something’s that mentally challenging, it’s just a whole different level of pushing through. I learned how to do that. It’s just something I’ve never done.”

Myers said he wasn’t fully healthy when he returned to face the Lions and didn’t get to 100 percent until about a month after the season.

Now, through the passage of time and extensive rehab, he’s healthy. And he knows the offense infinitely better than he did at this time last year. After falling short in the national championship hunt during his four seasons at Big Ten juggernaut Ohio State and in the Super Bowl hunt during his rookie season for the NFC North dynamo Packers, Myers has no shortage of motivation to play to expectations and to win a championship.

“It goes through my mind a lot,” he said. “You know, I’ve had the fortune – or misfortune, I guess, of how you look at it – of being really close a lot in my career to a ring, whether that be a national championship in college or a Super Bowl in the NFL. So, it’s been, being close but not quite being there has been something that’s motivated me the last several offseasons.”

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