Alvin Kamara discusses playing through MCL injury, next contract thoughts
It didn't start out like this, but there were plenty of moments in 2019 where things didn't look right for New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. It wasn't just your imagination. Everyone knew he wasn't 100 percent and wasn't himself, and we've received confirmation more than a few times that he was battling through injury. On Monday, Kamara revealed that he played through a MCL injury sustained against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6.
"I had a rough year last year dealing with injuries. So I have dealt with that, got back healthy and I'm here now," Kamara said.
He said that he basically tore his knee in that game, and opened up about how frustrating it was not being himself.
"That was something I was dealing with the whole season, had to miss some time, which I don't like to do, came back, tried to play as best I could, (and) tried to manage it throughout the week. Our training staff did the best they could, shout out to those guys because they were working with me behind the scenes every day trying to get me as close to 100 percent or as close to AK feeling like myself as I could. I tried to put my best product out on the field and sometimes it was enough, sometimes it wasn't, but I just didn't want to let my team down."
Kamara revealed that there were times he mentally said to himself that he shouldn't out on the field, but the need to be there and help the Saints was what drove him. Running backs coach Joel Thomas said in mid-June that no one knew exactly what Kamara was going through.
"There was a point to where, whether it was a back, a knee, an ankle, whatever it was, he battled through it the best that he could," Thomas said.
"I know at times people took it as something else, but the guy is an ultimate competitor, he wants to be out there to help the team and help us win, bottom line."
"Body language, obviously, not being able to move my leg how I want to, there's times where my body language was terrible, and I know it," Kamara said on Monday.
"It's one thing for fans to say it, but it's another (when) my teammates (say it). My teammates, that's all I'm really concerned about, they knew what I was going through. At times, it's like, hey AK, I know you're hurting, but come on. So I am like, alright, come on, I have got to snap back. I'm healthy now so I'm happy to be in this space now."
The injury didn't require any surgery during the offseason, but a lot of rehab. Kamara has been going through some impressive workouts with Dr. Sharif Tabbah (Dr. Reef) of Athletix Rehab & Recovery. He's also not worried about his next contract, which could look really interesting when it's all said and done. He's leaving that up to the Saints and his agent Demarius Bilbo.
"Yeah, as far as the contract goes, I'm not really focused on that. My main focus this offseason was getting back healthy," Kamara said.
"Me and my agent talked briefly about it and I said, don't tell me anything about a contract until it's like something where it's happening of if it's something that I need to know, other than that, like if I was my own agent then I'd have everything to tell you guys about a contract, but I'm not. I don't talk upstairs about contracts, I don't talk to coaches about contracts. I'm just here to do my job. I'm healthy. I'm back with my teammates. We're working towards getting ready for Tampa."
Kamara is going to cash in on a fairly lucrative deal, but the timing is unknown. He fits the Saints well, and has tremendous upside any time he touches the ball. Kamara is a consensus Top 5 running back in 2020, and should have a killer season in New Orleans that will hopefully result in a deep postseason run for the Saints.