Seahawks defensive lineman Greg Scruggs is one of the most upbeat and inspirational guys you'll ever meet. But he admits being sidelined during all of last year's Super Bowl-winning season with a knee injury wasn't easy.
"I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed every bit," he says.
It was awkward at times for Scruggs, a seventh-round pick out of Louisville. He was at Seahawks headquarters every day along with his teammates, but couldn't practice and spent much of his time rehabbing from a torn ACL.
"Big Red (Bryant) would always tell me 'young fellah you're a part of this, we did this' so they included me."
But Scruggs says he often kept his distance because he knew they had a job to do.
"I understood that because their focus was football, not Greg Scruggs."
It was a lost year, but it wasn't wasted. Scruggs worked tirelessly in the weight room. When he couldn't work out, he says he focused on the mental side of the game.
"I used that opportunity to learn, to watch the game and let the game slow down for me. To see how the older guys communicated, see how they took care of their bodies during a 24-game season, if you count the pre and postseason," he says.
Still, there were times that tried his seemingly endless optimism. He says a key was separating his emotions from his actions.
"I did have my days, but I took it with a grain of salt. I let it blow away with the wind and then I moved forward because no matter how much I might have been angry that day, it wasn't going to make my knee heal any faster," he says.
Scruggs has plenty of people pulling for him, and for good reason. He's been a favorite of coaches, teammates, fans and media since his arrival as the last player drafted by the Seahawks in 2012.
What kind of guy is he? There are plenty of stories of him staying long after practice to sign autographs, interacting with fans on social media and then actually showing up to hang out with them.
Earlier this year, he rushed out to buy gift cards for an underprivileged single mother after seeing a TV news story about her losing the only money she had to spend on Christmas presents for her four kids. He tried to keep it anonymous, but then word got out.
Scruggs is also known for his sense of humor off the field. Several weeks ago, he posted a video he said was of the Seahawks "aquarium" at the VMAC in Renton where they "keep some of their whales." The video then cuts to a shot of 310 pound teammate Brandon Mebane swimming in the team's lap pool.
"Bet y'all didn't know we had an aquarium," Scruggs wrote in the Instagram post. "We named this whale Brandon and (Bruce Irvin) is feeding him."
But for all he does off the field, his focus remains on being a significant part of the Seahawks defense in the coming season.
"It's my time to go play football. It's been a year, rookie year is over with. I've had some good and bad times, but it is my time now to go out and play football," he says.
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