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Sebastian Vollmer taking it ‘step by step’ in his return to the field

06.12.14 at 10:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Sebastian Vollmer is ready to put 2013 behind him. As a matter of fact, he admitted Thursday he’d rather not think about how it ended at all.

Who could blame him?

Anyone watching the Patriots and Dolphins on Oct. 27, 2013 on TV certainly will never forget how his season ended. The Patriots right tackle was moving outside to run block for Stevan Ridley when Dolphins nose tackle Randy Starks rolled up on his right leg. Sideline microphones picked up the yells of the 6-foot-8, 320-pound beast of a lineman who had just suffered a gruesome broken leg.

During Thursday’s OTAs, Vollmer returned and was moving freely with the first team offensive line, looking like a man ready to put the past in the past and leave it there. He even joked about being yelled at by coaches, a sign that he was indeed back and ready to put on the pads next week in mini-camp.

Whether he’ll be ready to take on the full load of a full training camp and be ready for the season opener against Starks and the Dolphins in Miami on Sept. 7 is another matter. And he’s more than ready to accept the reality of that deliberate pace.

“Let’€™s take it day by day,” Vollmer cautioned. “You work on some stuff every day in the training room, the rehab room, you know, on the field. You’€™re always working on something so you’€™re never there.

“Anytime you get hurt it’€™s not a good thing. You don’€™t really know what’€™s happening to yourself and take it step by step. You take it inside, talk to doctors and do what’€™s necessary and just work your way. It’€™s a strain. Every day you do rehab, you get better, you get stronger and all that stuff, looking forward. I’€™m back out here now and it’€™s a good moment for me.”

Vollmer felt from the moment he began to recover from surgery and begin his rehab program that he would be back on the field this summer, all along never doubting himself.

“No. I don’€™t think you should have that,” Vollmer said of skepticism and worry. “I trust our medical staff and rehab guys and we know we’€™re in good hands. You just have to do what they tell you to do. You have to work hard and I think that’€™s kind of what it comes down to.”

The biggest issue in recovery and rehab? The mental process of trusting his body.

“You take it step by step and eventually end up here,” Vollmer said. “That’€™s kind of the way it goes for everyone that gets hurt.”

Vollmer’s injury in the middle of last season provided a big opportunity for Marcus Cannon, who in his third season, filled in capably at right tackle.

Vollmer’s return to the field is also welcome along the offensive line as he and his teammates get accustomed to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who is replacing longtime offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia.

“I think the expectation is the same ‘€“ do your best,” Vollmer said. “That’€™s what coaches do, they try to get us to play at the best of our abilities and we’€™re here to learn and show that we’€™re good enough.”

While helping his teammates adjust to the new stylings of DeGuglielmo, Vollmer took time to thank those same teammates Thursday for helping him get through the toughest offseason of his NFL career so far.

“I spent a lot of time with those guys in the training room,” Vollmer said. “It’€™s encouraging words, but also you’€™re not by yourself working. The other guys in there are either rehabbing or working out in the training room. It’€™s always good to see guys working toward the same goal. It might be eight to 10 months away but you still have that same goal and working hard.”

Read More: Broken leg, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, nfl
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