Miami Dolphins running back Kory Sheets has an opportunity to step into the spotlight next season. The 5’11” dynamo, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad in October 2009, was expected to serve as Miami’s primary kickoff returner before a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in training camp cost him the entire 2010 campaign. With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams no longer expected to return to South Florida, Sheets is ready to compete with the team’s second-round pick, Daniel Thomas, for the starting tailback job.
Kory was kind enough to take time out of his offseason training schedule to talk about his rehabilitation process, his goals for the 2011 season, and his gameday routines.
1. You missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL. What did the rehab process entail and are you now fully recovered?
The rehab process was long and difficult. At one point, around December, I hit a wall, and I wasnâ€™t progressing (anymore) â€“ it wasnâ€™t getting worse, it wasnâ€™t getting better. With my workout that I was doing, I needed to make my calf muscles bigger and stronger, so once I was able to do that, to make that stronger, I felt more production. From there, it just kind of took off, and started healing. As of right now, Iâ€™m 100% â€“ thereâ€™s no pain, I got my strength back, and Iâ€™m running at full speed.
2. What have you been doing during the offseason, with no contact permitted with team officials?
A bunch of us are working out over at Nova (Southeastern University) â€“ we had been going every day until the lockout (temporarily) ended. Right now, Iâ€™m just taking a break and a week off, maybe two. I think Iâ€™ll probably get back at it around the end of the Fourth of July (weekend).
3. Has anyone on the Dolphins served as a mentor or role model for you?
I wouldnâ€™t say a role model, but a few guys talked with me, asked me what I wanted to do, and helped me study and just become a better pro. Lousaka Polite sat down with me on multiple occasions, helped me watch film, and showed me things that I needed to work on in my own game, how to read off of him and block.
4. Last season, you were expected to be the primary kick returner. Is that something you plan on doing in 2011?
Depending on whatever happens with Ronnie and Ricky â€“ if they donâ€™t come back, then my main focus is going to be (being) the starting tailback.
5. If Ricky and Ronnie donâ€™t return, as expected, is the plan for you to pair up with rookie Daniel Thomas in the backfield?
Yes, thatâ€™s the (teamâ€™s) plan, but my main focus is to going to be the main guy. If thereâ€™s something else they want me to do, Iâ€™ll gladly do it with no problem.
6. What do you feel you bring to the team when you step out on the field?
Speed â€“ in the NFL, most guys are fast, and just watching it all last season, (thereâ€™s) a lot of warp speed out there. I think Iâ€™ll help bring a lot of speed to the offense.
7. Would you say that you’re the fastest player in the NFL?
Oh, no. (laughs)
8. Where would you rank?
I donâ€™t even know, because there are a lot of guys out there that are fast. There (are) a lot of 4.2 (40-yard dash time) guys coming into the league.
9. Is there a current player in the NFL who you feel most closely resembles your skill-set?
Iâ€™ve been compared to Reggie Bush coming out of college. I donâ€™t feel that I play like him â€“ we have similar things that we can do, but I honestly donâ€™t know who (I played like). Iâ€™d (have to) sit here and think about it.
10. Which teams and players did you follow growing up, and which players did you most admire strive to be like?
I followed the 49ers growing up. And players, I watched Barry (Sanders), I actually watched Ricky a lot. Who else â€¦ thatâ€™s pretty much it. I really didnâ€™t watch football too much.
11. Can you take me through a typical gameday? Do you have any pre-game routines or superstitions?
I usually donâ€™t like to eat before a game. I donâ€™t know, growing up, I just never ate â€“ I donâ€™t know if that was (because) I was just nervous or I just didnâ€™t like to eat before a game. In high school I didnâ€™t eat; in college, I wouldnâ€™t eat before the morning of the game. After the game, Iâ€™m usually hungry.
12. What music do you listen to before a game?
Usually, itâ€™s whatever is on my iPod â€“ thereâ€™s no set list or no person that I like to listen to more. Maybe an hour before the game, Iâ€™ll sit in the locker room, and listen to probably some R&B music and just kind of relax.
13. Is there anything you’d like to say to your DolfansNYC fans?
When the lockout is over, we all will be ready to play ball!