INDIANAPOLIS — Lawrence Cager won’t be working out at the NFL combine this week, but the former Georgia receiver has come a long way down the comeback trail.
Cager, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound receiver, was back running on the treadmill two weeks ago, his rehab on track at the University of Georgia.
“My ribs and my shoulder are completely fine,” said Cager, limited by a sprained shoulder and bruised ribs the second half of the season before suffering a broken ankle in a Nov. 27 practice.
“It’s really just my ankle that I’ve been dealing with.”
Cager expects to be healthy enough to perform some drills at UGA’s Pro Day, which is projected to be March 18. He plans to be able to work out for teams in full by early to mid-April.
“It’s a mental game right now,” Cager said. “You’re not able to train, you’re not able to do everything at the end of the season that you envisioned you would do preparing for the combine and the draft.”
Cager will only be able to watch and support his former teammates, Jake Fromm and Charlie Woerner, when the quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends throw on Thursday in Lucas Oil Stadium (TV: NFL Network).
Cager is currently projected to be a late-round pick. His injuries and lack of special teams experience factoring into lower draft stock than his performances at Georgia last season might indicate.
“I know my ceiling in the NFL is high, (and) I know as much as I worked this year, I’ve got to work 10 times harder every year to be able to compete in the NFL,” Cager said. “I’m willing to do that, I’m ready to do that, I can’t wait to do that, and I can’t wait to be back healthy to start getting back to work.
“I’ve always been a confident person, and I got my groove back this year.”
Cager played in nine of 14 games last season, making 33 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns. Cager’s 7-catch, 132-yard performance against Florida was one for the ages and is expected to land him in the rivalry game’s hall of fame.
No doubt, Georgia was a different offense with Cager on the field.
Quarterback Jake Fromm completed more than 70 percent of his passes with Cager on the field and less than 50 percent without Cager.
“He looked like the guy that Jake was really comfortable with,” former New England Patriots; and Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl scout Jim Nagy said.
“He was kind of the bailout guy. Jake knew where Lawrence was going to be, and they looked like they were on the same page,”
The former Miami Hurricanes’ receiver also had a five-catch, 82-yard performance that led Georgia over Notre Dame in an early-season Top 10 clash at Sanford Stadium.
As for special teams, Cager made it clear he’s ready and willing to help teams win games any way he can.
“At Georgia they didn’t ask me to play special teams, that wasn’t my job,” Cager said. “So, I’ll go to an NFL team, and if it’s my job to play special teams, that’s what I’ll do to help the team win.”
The NFL Draft take place from April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
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