"You never know when something you love can be taken from you in the blink of an eye."
Those were the words Teddy Bridgewater said as he addressed the media for the first time since suffering a career-threatening knee injury 11 months ago. Now, Bridgewater is back in a red practice jersey as the Vikings begin training camp in Mankato.
He's not practicing fully and there's still no timetable for his return, but he publicly confirmed for the first time that his career is not over.
"That's the good thing about all of this. I get to continue to live out my dream. We don't know when it's going to happen, but I know it's going to happen."
What happened Aug. 30, 2016?
"No contact. Probably just a bad step," said Bridgewater, explaining the practice play he was injured on. "Put a lot of force into the ground and pretty sure the knee just gave out."
Bridgewater's answer when asked if immediate medical attention saved his leg: "Probably, I don't know."
It's still unclear if the severity of his injuries – a dislocated knee and torn anterior cruciate ligament – will lessen his mobility going forward.
"That's something I'd rather not talk about," he said.
Bridgewater mentioned Frank Gore as an inspiring source of information. Gore, like Bridgewater, is from Miami, Florida. He overcame ACL surgeries in the same knee in the early 2000s and is still going strong in the NFL.
"I've talked to numerous guys. The common thing is, 'take your time.' I talked to some guys who came back to soon, I talked to some guys who took their time."
"That first hit or contact, that will tell me, hey, I can do this," Bridgewater said. "If I can do it one time, I know I can do it forever."