TE Cornelius Ingram: “At the end of the day, there’s nothing like being on the field.”

After two years of rehabbing his torn anterior cruciate ligament, two years of watching while other tight ends succeeded in his stead and two years of sitting in the background while yearning to get back on the field to play his favorite sport, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Cornelius Ingram decided to spend his free month before 2010 training camp begins starting a charity and spending a half hour talking about his career and life with OGGOA. The former Florida Gators breakout star, now back in town to relax with family and work out with some of his former coaches, reminisced about his struggles, successes and what he hopes to accomplish in his hometown.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Let’s start off with the most important question first…how is your knee? Last we heard you were back to full speed and participating in mini camp.
CORNELIUS INGRAM: “That’s 100 percent correct. I feel good. I was able to go through OTAs and minicamp and I had a pretty successful one as well. I feel good. The knee’s back to 100 percent, so I’m excited about the season.”

AS: Obviously it is tough going into a situation where you are hoping to contribute right away only to get backtracked with basically the same injury again. What were your thoughts when you found out you had to sit out another full year after tearing your ACL?
CI: “It was tough. If anybody is doing something that they have a passion for and they love it, regardless if its sports or not, it’s tough when you love to do something and it’s something you’ve been doing your whole life – it’s very hard to sit out and watch other guys be successful. I’m a pretty competitive guy, so I’m always trying to do my best at whatever I’m doing. It was very tough being [injured] two years in a row. But the good thing I can say – I was still able to go to meetings. I was lifting weights; I was still able to watch film with the team during the course of game week. I still felt like I got better in certain areas, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like being on the field.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Cornelius Ingram…after the break!
Continue Reading » TE Cornelius Ingram: “At the end of the day, there’s nothing like being on the field.”

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TWO BITS: Ingram’s knee, Rainey and Howard

1 » Wide receiver Riley Cooper may be the latest former Florida Gators player to join the Philadelphia Eagles, but the one who was once thought to make the greatest impact was tight end Cornelius Ingram. Though he came into training camp his rookie year off of season-ending ACL surgery that forced him to sit out the Gators’ 2008 BCS National Championship run, there were hopes that Ingram could take the starting job right away. Instead, he re-injured his ACL during camp and Brent Celek stepped into the role. Now, one year later, Ingram’s knee is holding up well and he hopes to start his NFL career as Celek’s back-up.

“I think I came into this camp with way more confidence than where I was this time last year,” Ingram told the Philadelphia Inquirer after completing a long workout. “That helps out a lot — just knowing you can relax and just play football. It’s going good. I know I can play this game. I know if my knee’s healthy, I can play this game at a high level.” Ingram has been able to do whatever has been asked of him so far including cutting in both directions and running at full speed.

2 » Florida strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti told the Orlando Sentinel Thursday that he has been most impressed with redshirt juniors wide receiver Chris Rainey and defensive end Jaye Howard thus far during early summer workouts. “A lot of it is maturing,” Marotti said when discussing Rainey. “After a while, [players say] ‘I better gain some weight’ or ‘I better get stronger.’” He is equally impressed with Howard’s drive. “I see a little bit more, I don’t know if it’s hunger or what,” he said. “He lets me know at the end – ‘I’m better, huh?’ — because he moved up two spots. It’s all based on attitude. That’s one guy I can say, ‘Wow.’”

Photo Credit: Tracy Wilcox/The Gainesville Sun

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TWO BITS: Pouncey soaks it in, Ingram returns

1 » Former Florida Gators center Maurkice Pouncey is loving his new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Drafted by the six-time Super Bowl champions with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Pouncey is “just trying to establish” himself with the veterans. “This is a great experience and a great team,” Pouncey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “All of the guys take you in, none of that hazing kind of thing. It’s just, ‘Win championships.’ […] I’m sitting in here looking at all of the other guys that played in the Super Bowl and just trying to soak in what they’ve got and follow their lead.” He joins Florida alum and left tackle Max Starks on Pittsburgh’s offensive line. “He didn’t come in with any type of ego,” Starks said, praising Pouncey’s introduction. “That’s what you want to see, especially in an offensive lineman. You want a young guy to come in that wants to learn and wants to get better.”

2 » According to a live chat session with Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane, former Gators tight end Cornelius Ingram participated in individual drills during the Philadelphia Eagles’ minicamp last weekend. Missing his rookie year after suffering a second injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (the first kept him out the 2008-09 Florida football season), Ingram lost out on a starting opportunity to Brent Celek but has a chance to be a back-up and earn time on the field should he be able to stay healthy. Reports are that his rehab has been going well, and Ingram is expected to make a full recovery. Wide receiver Riley Cooper, drafted in the fifth round by Philadelphia, joins Ingram on the Eagles this season.

Photo Credit: Tracy Wilcox/The Gainesville Sun

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