Eight months ago Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was face down at Giants Stadium.
Quarless tore the ACL and MCL in his knee in a gruesome injury suffered while covering a kickoff last December. Now his sights are set on a return to the field.
"I'm not going to lie, I don't like to watch," Quarless said in the locker room Saturday.
"I'm feeling pretty good. Right now it's a week to week process. They usually say 8-12 months until you're fully 100 %. Me, I feel like I will be ready to go at 90 %. Everybody is playing around here a little nicked up, so there's no reason why I can't."
There's finally light at the end of the tunnel after a long road to recovery and countless hours of rehab.
"Right now I am doing everything," says Quarless. "I'm running, doing cuts. We started cutting a couple weeks ago and doing cone drills. I joked around earlier saying I am training for the combine right now. That's how I feel like. Training for the combine is a good thing. That it probably one of the times in your life when you are most prepared."
Behind starter Jermichael Finley, the Packers feature a talented group of tight ends as D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor have both impressed when healthy during training camp. But Head Coach Mike McCarthy says Quarless was making his mark in his second year before getting injured.
"I thought Andrew was playing extremely well at the time of his injury against the New York Giants," McCarthy said Sunday. "I thought he was our best 'on the line' tight end at that particular time. He's on schedule. I know he's ambitiious to get back before the end of training camp. I don't know if that will be the case."
The past few months have not only been a physical strain on Quarless, but an emotional one as well for the former Penn State player.
Saturday Quarless spoke with reporters for the first time since the most recent developments at his old school where former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 accouts of child sex abuse, and an internal investigation proved legendary and late head coach Joe Paterno was implicated as part of a cover up.
"I feel like he could have did more," Quarless said regarding Paterno's role in the scandal. "But it's hard when he's not alive anymore. It's hard to me that he's not alive to really try to talk bad about him. I definitley feel there was more that could have been done as a whole from the Athletic Director, President... "But like I said there's only one God, and I really feel like he was put to a high standard in State College, to where he couldn't do any wrong.
It's difficult for Quarless to be so negative about Paterno because the former Penn State head coach was a big positive for him personally. Quarless was arrested twice in State College for alcohol-related incidents.
"I had some little hiccups over there in Penn State which only made me stronger as a person," Quarless says. "That's one thing I really thank Coach Paterno for, is really building me into a person. That's one thing when you talk to a lot of alumni they all say the same thing he really made you into a great person. He had some stern, stern ways which really made you tighten your game up."
All of Penn State's wins during Quarless' time at the school have been erased due to NCAA sanctions. Ironically, the Packers TE kind of feels like he just graduated from college all over again.
"I joked around earlier saying I am training for the combine right now," said Quarless describing his recent workouts. "Training for the combine is a good thing. That is probably one of the times in your life when you are most prepared."
So eight months after being face down in excruciating pain, Quarless is keeping his head up with hopes of being ready week one.