After sitting out during offseason activities due to a foot injury, Falcons rookie Stansly Maponga took the field to start 2013 Russell Atheltic Training Camp and now says he's ready to play.
The defensive end, who was drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round in April, said the experience of sitting out on playing and learning from the sidelines was something new to him.
"I've never done that through all my career playing football," Maponga said. "It was kind of new to me because I really learn by actually playing but it was kind of hard for me just to kind of sit on the sideline and learn … It's just something I had to deal with and just be patient because they want me to be healthy and they do want me to play this year so it was kind of hard for me but I took their word."
Due to not being able to physically prepare, he mentally did the best he could to be ready by the time training camp started. Maponga, who stayed on the field after practice to get in some extra work Friday, also added that he knows he needs to put in hard work to be at the level his teammates are at.
"I have a lot of catching up to do," he said. "Like I said, I'm kind of out of shape right now. But I'm getting back to it. I just have to continue to do my rehab, listen to what they tell me to do and I'll be ready to go."
Maponga said he feels "great," and that he's confident that his recovery process will lead him to be fully prepared by the time the season starts.
"They took care of me and now I'm out here doing what I need to do, get back in shape," he said. "Right now things look pretty good. I just have to continue to work, get back in shape, and I'll be ready. "