Wide Receiver Logan Payne says he's 100 percent healthy now after rehabilitating a torn MCL in his right knee he suffered at Qwest Field in the second game of the season against San Francisco.
Payne said he had a good week of practice in his first action on the football field since early in 2008. He spent the first day or so getting comfortable with being out on the field again
"I haven't been out here in a long time, so there's just the little things you have to get back into," Payne said. "But overall, I'm feeling real strong, real fast and I'm working real hard to get back, so I'm feeling good.
"I'm a football player, so that's where I love to be out on the field. It was kind of tough last year because I couldn't be out on the field with the guys, so it's great to get back. We've got some new energy around here, people flying around and a lot of new people. So it's been exciting."
Payne did not have surgery on his MCL. Instead, team doctors let the injury heal, and Payne went through rehab last winter, about a two to three-month process. Payne said he was close to being 100 percent by the end of December.
Payne talked about the frustration of missing out on the opportunity to get some playing time with all the injuries Seattle experienced at wide receiver last season.
"The NFL is tough to break through, and you kind of wait for opportunities like that," he said. "So yeah, in that way it was very disappointing. You talk about getting a chance at your dream. So kind of taking a rough injury like I did, and having to get place on IR (injured reserve) because of the situation that we had (was rough).
"But it's definitely made me a better person overall. I mean I worked harder than I ever thought I could work. I already thought I worked hard, and then this offseason it me and I told myself that I have to keep pushing. And so I've done that. That's football. Sometimes you get hurt and you take bad breaks, just like in games. Sometimes bad plays happen, and you just have to pick it up. You have to keep moving forward. That's what I've done and that's the approach I took. And that's kind of got me back to where I am today."
Payne said the change to a zone-blocking system fits what he does a receiver because of the physical way he plays the game. Payne also is comfortable with the new offensive scheme because he played in a similar system at Minnesota.
"At Minnesota that's all we ran was zone blocking," he said. "We didn't really throw the ball much up there (laughs). So yeah, I think I kind of have an advantage in that. I really like the zone scheme. I even know what the guards and tackles are doing from college. So I'm really comfortable with going down and getting linebackers and safeties. And I try and pride myself in my blocking. So that's a new thing, and I think it's going to really help the good runs that we have this year become great, and take them to the next level."
Payne should be in the battle for the last couple receiver roster spots come training camp. He knows he has a chance to make the team for a second straight season.
"I feel real good (about my chances)," he said. "You always have to be confident in yourself and your abilities, especially in football, and especially in the position that I play. You need to be confident and try and do as many good things as you can in practice and just keep building on it."