The term ‘adding insult to injury’ certainly applies to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers. In the team’s final game of the 2017-2018 season, a playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rogers left the game with a knee injury which would soon be diagnosed as a torn ACL.
A torn ACL injury usually results in a minimum 6-month recovery period, but Rogers has proclaimed he will be back for the Steelers Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.
“I should be ready by (training) camp,” Rogers told Steelers.com. “I keep seeing progress. When I come in here to the facility, (head athletic trainer) John Norwig knows I am going to work and I like working. I am always trying to reach a point. I ask him when people normally bend a knee 90 degrees out of surgery. He will tell me, and my goal is to be a week or two ahead of that. I am always trying to be better. I listen to them and go from there. The first phase they said don’t bend your knee or walk on it. Now I can bend it and put pressure on it. I have goals. Things I can succeed and grow in.”
The Steelers report to camp at the end of July, which is about 6.5 months after his injury occurred in the Divisional round of the AFC Playoffs. Rogers being in camp, and healthy, will be huge for former Louisville product who is about to enter a contract year with the black-and-gold.
Rogers recalls the feeling while laying on the Heinz Field turf after suffering his injury:
“I was down on the field and telling the athletic trainers, ‘Come on guys pick me up, I am on TV right now. I can’t be down here this long,’” said Rogers, laughing that he didn’t want to look weak by being down too long. “I was down, and I got up, and I could feel it. But I was like just get me off the field. I started walking and couldn’t put pressure on it. I thought something might be wrong, but I was like I am good.”
”I didn’t know it was torn. I didn’t think anything was that wrong.”
Rogers’ 2017-2018 season saw a decreased amount of playing time with the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster, but he will be a valuable piece of the Steelers’ offensive puzzle if healthy. Rogers not only knows how to work the slot within the offense, but has also become a viable option as a return man.
Rogers is a restricted free agent (RFA) once the new league year begins, and he says his rehab is going “great” up this point. While Rogers may have an uphill battle to get back on the field physically, he also has an uphill battle to see more playing time within new offensive coordinator Randy Fitchtner’s new offense.