The Buffalo Bills took linebacker Reggie Ragland in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, penciling him in as a starter on opening day. That wasn’t to be as he tore his ACL in training camp. On Thursday, he was cleared for a return to football and was excited.
Cleared!!! Thank you lord!!!— ReggieRagland(mafia) (@reggieragland) May 11, 2017
Ragland suffered the injury on August 5th. This timeline is on the quick side of the recovery timeline, at barely over nine months. In January, he had progressed to straight line running but was not cutting.
Of course, Ragland was drafted as a fit in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense having played in Nick Saban’s two-gapping 3-4 based system at Alabama. It remains to be seen both how his knee will hold up as well as how he will adapt to Sean McDermott’s 4-3.
“I don't care if it's 4-3, a 3-4, it doesn't matter to me," he told The Buffalo News in January. "I'm going to come in and do my best, whatever the coach needs me to do. That's always been me my whole life.”
"Knowing me, I'm a competitor. I'm going to find a way to get on the field. So it doesn't matter what the coach has me doing, I'm going to find a way. If I've got to work my tail off to get on the field, I'm going to do that. I've had people doubting me my whole life and I've always proven them wrong. And I'm going to keep proving people wrong."
Ragland will get that chance on the field starting as early as this weekend. Because he didn’t take a snap for the Bills, he is likely eligible to participate in Buffalo’s rookie minicamp. We are awaiting confirmation.
UPDATE: Ragland was not included on the Bills rookie minicamp roster. Kolby Listenbee, a 2016 draft pick who missed all of last year, is on the roster. It’s unclear why Ragland won’t participate but is likely for precautionary reasons.