KUSA - Catchy headline right? Don't worry. Defensive end Derek Wolfe is back on the field with the Denver Broncos and is working incredibly hard.
The fact that he's up to 290 pounds should tell you that. It's the biggest he's been since coming to the Broncos. He just realizes, now more than ever, that rest and recovery are every bit as important as reps and relentless training.
"It's not pushing myself to the limit every day. It's just kind of taking things in stride to try and save up that energy for game day," said Wolfe. "I don't have to push myself every workout of every day. I don't have to go train three times a day. Do that one work out and put everything you've got in that one work out and then rest. That's the biggest thing I've learned is rest."
It's a lesson he was forced to learn in 2013 after suffering a spinal-cord injury against the Seattle Seahawks in the pre-season. Shortly after, there he was on the practice field, in the games, going all out and saying all the right things. But things were not all right.
"Basically I didn't take the right steps to let it heal properly. When it wasn't feeling right, I didn't tell anybody. I just kind of played through it, and I really should have brought that to their attention," said Wolfe. "It came back to bite me."
Wolfe suffered a seizure on the team bus in November 2013. He was never right again after the incident.
"It was kind of my fault. I really [didn't] pay attention to it like I should have," said Wolfe. "I just kept pushing it aside because we were playing great so I didn't want to miss out on anything."
He missed the rest of the season and dropped to 258 pounds. The defensive lineman admits he thought playing football again wasn't a possibility. But he's back. Wolfe looks healthy, and feels great.
"He's a pretty motivated kid. Football is a big part of his life," said Broncos head coach John Fox. "He did have some medical things as far as maintaining weight, some things medically that were kind of holding that back. The doctors figured out what that was and he's doing really, really well right now."
Wolfe says being back on the field is emotional. He better not get to caught up in it because he has a spot to earn. Just ask him.
"This is the NFL. You have to re-prove yourself every year," said Wolfe. "It doesn't matter who you are. You always have to re-prove yourself. I appreciate the competition, I love it."
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