Former Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter will get his first chance to test out his injured left leg in front of NFL Scouts Wednesday during a workout session with the Atlanta Falcons.
Slaughter tore his Achilles tendon in the first half of Notre Dame’s win over Michigan State last September. He is still less than 100 percent healthy and plans to pace himself at the workout, but the light is beginning to shine at the end of a long rehab tunnel for the Irish alumnus. Later this week, Slaughter plans to be in South Bend to meet with NFL coaches in town for Notre Dame’s annual coaches’ clinic.
He has been training in Atlanta — he grew up in nearby Stone Mountain, Ga. — since the NCAA denied his petition for a sixth year at Notre Dame in February. He said he goes through rehab five days a week at the Wellness Performance Institute and is in the final, strength-building phase of the process.
“I think about a month from now I should be pretty much 100 percent,” he said in an interview at Notre Dame’s Pro Day in late March. “Once the strength gets there that’s when I’m able to make major cuts and backpedal and break at 100 percent level. Once I get that going, that’s when I can really start getting back in the groove.”
Slaughter was relegated to a spectator role during the Pro Day workout in South Bend. He said he could run and jump on the injured left leg, but wasn’t confident in going full speed a little more than six months after tearing his Achilles.
The long appeal process for one more potential year of eligibility may have slowed his recovery time, Slaughter said. Notre Dame submitted his application in December. It was initially denied on Jan. 15, but the school’s appeal on his behalf wasn’t turned down until Feb. 13.
“It was a hard process. Time was going and going and I hadn’t heard a word for about a month,” Slaughter said. “I wish I could have had a little more time to prepare. Maybe a month more of training in rehab down in Atlanta might have got me to a higher level than I am now, but you just have to take the cards your dealt with and keep moving.”
Lewis-Moore’s Rehab Continues
The only former Notre Dame player currently holding worse cards than Slaughter on the injury front is defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore. He started to climb NFL draft boards during a productive senior season (40 tackles and six sacks). A torn anterior cruciate ligament during the BCS title game in Miami and ensuing injury have at least put his pro career on pause.
Lewis-Moore said he is still five or more months away from returning to full strength. He expects to be ready in September, but wasn’t sure what the process for getting a chance to catch on with a team would entail at that point.
The Texas native has been training in Chicago during the past couple of months. He attended the NFL Combine and Notre Dame’s Pro Day, but did not participate in any drills. He used those meetings to meet with scouts and discuss his options for the future.
“I talked to a few and basically they just asked how the rehab was coming. Nothing too big,” Lewis-Moore said. “The only thing you can do is control what you can control.”