O.J. Atogwe proclaims that he will be healthy this season and nothing less would be expected after the veteran safety agreed to a five-year contract with the St. Louis Rams on Wednesday, a deal that was long in the works.
Atogwe, 29, was knocked out for the remainder of the season in early December when he suffered a shoulder injury in a loss at Chicago that required reconstructive surgery. That clouded speculation about his future and then came reports that he was also dealing with a sports hernia.
But neither are an issue for him right now, as he announced he is “very healthy,” according to Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. “There will definitely be an acclimation period getting back to playing football. I haven’t played football since December 6, 2009. Though I’ve been doing drills and running around, there’s definitely going to be an acclimation period. But there’s no doubt in my mind that come opening game (I will) be on the field and helping this team be successful.”
Atogwe would not admit to a sports hernia and a surgery to repair it, but he did admit there were other health issues he had been dealing with during an offseason of uncertainty.
“I had some other complications that needed to get corrected and through the offseason I was able to restore health and become whole,” he said. “Going forward, I think I’m in the best shape that I can be to play this upcoming season.”
And St. Louis, despite major struggles by the organization, is exactly where he wanted to be.
“This is where I’m supposed to be,” Atogwe said. “This is where my work is still to be done. St. Louis has been my home these last five years and my time here was not finished. My purpose of being in St. Louis was not completed, and coming back and being with my teammates meant a lot to me. I’ve got a lot of good friends on this team and our work together wasn’t done, so I’m excited to come back and rejoin them and all the work they’ve done this offseason to continue to turn this around and head in the right direction to a Super Bowl.”
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