Way back in October, Leon Hall knew this particular offseason was going to proceed for him a lot like the one that separated the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Had Hall been healthy when he learned that news, he would have hated knowing that he was about to spend the next nine to 10 months rehabbing from an Achilles surgery and trying to get himself competing at a level higher than he previously performed.
But since Hall wasn't healthy when he found out that his 2013 season was cut short a lot like the 2011 one, the veteran cornerback welcomed the challenges posed by the next few months. After having dealt with the exact same injury -- but on the opposite foot -- barely two years ago, he knew what was coming. He knew exactly when the rehab would get most difficult. He knew which exercises would cause him the most discomfort and when they would come. He had an idea about how the pacing of his long journey back would go.
Apparently that winding path hasn't been so bad so far this time around.
Whether he was aware of it or not, after his experience with the rehab in 2011 and 2012, Hall built a trust and faith with Bengals trainer Nick Cosgray, the 35-year-old in charge of rehabbing injured Bengals. This is the second time the pair has gone through a lengthy return process. Both felt the last rehab sequence went well, as Hall even felt more confident in his left Achilles than he did pre-injury.
In addition to Hall, Cosgray also has been working this offseason with defensive tackle Geno Atkins, whose season ended when he tore an ACL three games after Hall's injury.
This Wednesday edition of the Morning Stripes takes a look at how Hall's rehab has gone so far and how it has been strengthened by his past experience with Cosgray in charge.
Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson has the lengthy read on Hall's recovery. Each day, the pair meet to go through a sequence of exercises and drills that strengthen the right Achilles that was torn when Hall tried to jump while defending the taller Calvin Johnson on a fade into the corner of the end zone at Detroit. There are musical themes to each day. And as the days go by, Hall gets closer and closer to having the same training-camp return that he did in 2012. He's right on track, Cosgray says.
Earlier this week, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer took his stab at Bengals free agents, offering his analysis on the varying odds that individual players get retained for 2014.