An Achilles tear has wrecked the last two seasons for him, but Romeo Okwara says he feels healthy and ready to recapture his previous form.
Coming off a 10-sack season in 2020, the then-new regime of the Detroit Lions rewarded Romeo Okwara with a three-year, $37 million contract ($25 million guaranteed).
But Okwara suffered a torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2021 season, and of course missed the rest of the campaign. The significance of the injury, and the unique, individualized nature of recovery from it, sidelined him until the 13th game of the season last year.
Okwara had two sacks in his second game back, Week 14 against the New York Jets. But outside of that, he did not register a sack in his five total games of action. With more time to get all the way healthy, Okwara quickly eyed a re-emergence this season.
Okwara took a big pay cut to stay with the Lions this offseason. After Wednesday's minicamp practice, he talked about that and of course his health outlook.
Romeo Okwara feels healthy and ready to recapture his previous form
Via 97.1 The Ticket, here's what Okwara had to say about coming back to the Lions even it meant taking a pay cut.
"Detroit’s my home," Okwara said. "And I think it was really important for me to be here and just keep building on what we’ve started since I’ve been here. So I didn’t really think too much of it. That’s just part of the business and I’m glad to be here.""
Moving on to his health, leaning back to his 2020 season, Okwara had more positives to offer. He said his body "feels like it did that year", and "maybe even better" before adding more adjectives to compare to how he felt last year.
"More explosive, stronger, faster," Okwara said Wednesday after the Lions' second practice of minicamp. "Whatever it is in terms of just elevating my pass-rushing moves.”"
The Lions would certainly welcome anything close to the 2020 version of Okwara. Their pass rusher depth is better than it was when Okwara was last fully healthy, early in the 2021 season, but he has some proven production (two seasons with at least 7.5 sacks) and veteran experience to differentiate himself from the group.