Teddy Bridgewater's comeback from a devastating knee injury continues to be one of the best stories of training camp.
The New York Jets signal-caller has impressed in every phase of camp thus far after missing most of the past two seasons following a gruesome dislocated knee injury suffered before the 2016 campaign. He opens at No. 2 on the Gang Green depth chart, albeit destined to be passed by Sam Darnold eventually.
His place on the roster doesn't bother Bridgewater. The QB just wants to play.
"Right now, I'm doing everything I dreamed of doing -- and that's waking up and continuing to play football," he said, via ESPN's Rich Cimini. "It's a wonderful feeling. It gives me chills right now to think about it, knowing how the previous two years were."
By all accounts, Bridgewater has been impressive during training camp practices, displaying a live arm, and much of his mobility has returned. He still wears a brace on his injured knee, but it hasn't hindered the 25-year-old much.
With the Jets likely to keep Josh McCown on the sideline during Friday's first preseason-opening tilt versus the Atlanta Falcons, Bridgewater will split reps with Darnold. If and when he's hit, it will be the first time in a game since the non-contact injury two years ago.
"I'm looking forward to these upcoming preseason games, just getting out there and having fun, playing football again," Bridgewater said, per the New York Post. "I look forward to every day. Some people might say, 'It's training camp, the grind of things, can't wait to get to the regular season. Things will be easier.' But I look forward to it. Embrace the grind because it was once taken from me."
Jets coach Todd Bowles demurred when asked about the starting gig, intimating he might wait well into the preseason to make a final decision -- most consider McCown the favorite to open the season with Darnold eventually taking the throne.
After some prognosticators forecasted doom for Bridgewater's career following the knee injury, that we're even discussing the quarterback at this stage is a notable victory. An impressive preseason could secure his spot on the roster. In a perfect world, he'd flash the high-level ability shown before the injury in Minnesota and become trade bait for a QB-needy team.
For a player once viewed as the long-term answer and face of the Vikings franchise, the journey back has been long and arduous. And it isn't over yet for Bridgewater.