This is an exciting time for rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram.
It was the second day of training camp last year at the University of Florida when Ingram tore the ACL in his left knee. A year later, fully healthy, the fifth-round draft pick is expected to utilize his massive 6-4 frame and athleticism to add some explosiveness out of the tight end position. To get ready for training camp, Ingram went out the Arizona earlier this month to participate in Donovan McNabb's rugged off-season training program.
While the two former college hoops players may not have squared off in a game of one-on-one, Ingram gleaned a lot from the veteran who is entering his 11th NFL season.
"It just shows what kind of leader he is," Ingram said. "He wants to win. He's just trying to get everyone better. One of the main things I took out of it, I watched him work every day. I mean hard. Most of the time when I was up there at mini-camp, we lift with the rookies so I wasn't in the weight room at the same time as him. But I've seen him lift a lot of weight and do a lot of stuff to make him strong mentally and physically while we were working out. Just seeing a guy like him who is already established in the league keep going ... it makes you want to keep going as well."
When asked about what to expect at training camp, Ingram answered the same way that seventh-round linebacker Moise Fokou answered. At the rookie symposium, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said to take everything you think you know about training camp and throw it out the window.
"Don't worry about all of the other stuff, but go in the best shape as possible," Ingram said of Tomlin's advice. "No rookies know what to expect. Don't try to go into camp thinking that you know what's going to happen. Just go in the best shape possible and be ready to listen and learn everyday."
Recruited by Florida as a quarterback, Ingram was converted to tight end and caught 64 passes for 888 yards and eight touchdowns during his collegiate career. As a testament to his leadership, he was named the team captain and presented President Obama with a Gators jersey despite not playing a single down during the national championship season.
*-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 7:32 p.m., July 26