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Torn Achilles was ‘the best thing to happen to me’

Takk McKinley is one of many newcomers for the Los Angeles Rams this week. The former first-round pick was signed off the Titans’ practice squad by the Rams, bringing him back home to California where he was born and raised.

McKinley last played a regular-season game in December as a member of the Browns, but his year was cut short by a torn Achilles. It was a long road back from the injury, but McKinley is ready to roll again.

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And after taking the field for a padded practice Thursday for the first time all year, McKinley is starting to feel like himself again.

“First off, it feels great to be on the field again,” McKinley said via the team’s official site. “Tore my Achilles late December last year, and it’s been – excuse my language – a hell of a journey just to get back on the field, just to get to this point, just to be able to be back in an NFL locker room. Especially the L.A. Rams, who won a Super Bowl, who got a team that’s pretty much built together, I’m here to help wherever I can.”

McKinley said he thought he could come back from his torn Achilles in five or six months “because Cam Akers did it,” but it’s taken him a bit longer to return. Akers’ quick recovery is more an outlier than the norm.

As painful and crushing as his Achilles injury was, he also believes it was a blessing in disguise.

“Honestly, it [the Achilles injury] was the best thing to happen to me as crazy as it may sound,” McKinley said, via Heavy.com.

McKinley admits he wasn’t the most mature player when he first came into the NFL and didn’t take his health as seriously as he should have. But now after suffering a torn Achilles and being forced to go through that difficult rehab process, he pays closer attention to keeping his body in the best shape he can.

“I’ll be honest, I had to grow up,” McKinley said. “In my younger days, I don’t think I took a lot of things seriously whether if it was nutrition or whatever it may be. As you get older in this league, you realize that your body is your money. Your body is your way to provide. I had to learn the hard way and sometimes, you had to go through some things to learn. And now, I’m on a meal plan and I make sure I take my vitamins. I just do all the little things that I was supposed to do.”

McKinley is on the Rams’ active roster but it’s unclear if he’ll contribute right away on Sunday when they face the Cardinals on the road. McKinley plans to be ready whenever the Rams need him, but he first needs to learn the playbook and get acclimated on defense.


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