There were some that believed Eric Norwood would never play football again.
Eric Norwood was not one of them.
It was the 2015 eastern semi-final when Norwood got his gruesome injury – tearing his ACL, LCL, PCL and IT band.
“I’m the first guy to really come back from this type of injury, from a four-ligament tear,” Norwood said earlier this week. “My coaches worked with me, the trainers worked with me, and the strength coaches, and all I can be is grateful for their patience invested in me.”
It appears that Norwood’s therapists and coach’s patience may have been easier to harness than his own.
“He’s been actually very impatient, he’s been a little worrisome to deal with from time to time,” head coach Chris Jones said with a bit of a chuckle. “But that’s a good thing. He’s eager to try to get back on the football. He’s put a lot of work in.”
“It was tough because I’m impatient,” Norwood said. “I thought I was ready to go three to four months ago but now I know that I wasn’t. Timing is everything and I’m just glad everything worked out the way it did.”
Norwood admitted, though, that there were some humbling moments in his recovery. His leg was so bad off he was left having to crawl up stairs. He said he could barely fit in an Uber between his brace and his crutches and he had learn how to depend on others, all while staying positive.
“I wouldn’t ask for it to be any other way. I don’t regret anything. I’m glad I went through this injury, it put me in a different place, it put me in a different mindset but I’m still the same animal on the field.”
Now, Norwood will make his debut against the Tigercats – the team that cut him in the off-season – but also handed the Roughriders their biggest loss of the season: 53-7.
It’s expected to be cool and rainy for the 7:30 kick off at Mosaic Stadium, so the team has been practicing all week with wet footballs. But quarterback Darian Durant said he doesn’t expect the any drastic changes to the play calling.
“If you can’t throw it turns more into a smash mouth type of game. I think defences along with offences change their game plans up just a little bit,” he said Friday, adding a good mix of running and throwing will be key for the offence.
“If we can get a little balance going, get Curtis (Steele) running, get myself running a little bit that will throw the defence off some.”
Zach Collaros will start at quarterback for the Tigercats, who are currently at 6-6. Hamilton will be without some of its stars including Chad Owens, Luke Tasker and C.J. Gable.
But more important to Norwood than proving anything to his old team is the message he wants to send to Roughrider fans: that all is not lost.
“Just give them a promise that there’s something there,” he said. “It’s not the same as it was last year.”