C.J. Conrad is back where he belongs, on a football field.
The former Kentucky tight end went through two and a half weeks of highs and lows. His emotional roller coaster finally came to a screeching halt when he learned his football career was not over.
“It was tough for me and my family over the past couple weeks, so when me and my mom headed up to Boston on Monday, just to hear that,” he paused, searching for the right words, “you have no idea. I’m so happy to be out here.”
At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis doctors discovered an undiagnosed problem in his heart. Medically disqualified from the event, his football career was in jeopardy of ending before it even started.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Conrad said. “I handle that stuff okay, it’s just more of seeing my family upset that crushed me to see my parents heartbroken. Managing that over the last couple weeks has been tough, but (I’ve been) staying busy with my teammates. This university is amazing. The medical staff, coach Stoops, my teammates, Josh, who I got to go on the signing tour with, keeping me busy through these last two weeks. It could’ve been really bad for me, but I feel — I’m just so happy to be out here.”
Once the specialist cleared Conrad to return to football activities, he immediately went to work. Initially, the plan was to push back all combine activities until April 8, but after four solid days of workouts, he was prepared to run routes for NFL scouts and general managers at this morning’s pro day.
“I think they were a little surprised that I was able to do what I did today. I don’t think they expected me to workout.” He added, “I didn’t know I was going to until probably this morning.”
He didn’t test in the drills, but C.J. Conrad is doing work running routes. pic.twitter.com/2pSO2Upmrl
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) March 22, 2019
Today was less about wowing scouts and more about getting back to normal. After a tumultuous two weeks off the field, just getting back onto the field with his teammates helped him overcome that final emotional hurdle.
“It’s been a tough two and a half weeks, honestly. It really tested me a lot, but just to be out here with my teammates, it means everything.”
Conrad still plans on competing in a pro day alongside Mike Edwards in April. Until then, he’ll gladly be busting his butt in preparation to make sure his name is called in the NFL Draft.
“I’m just excited to get back to work. I’m not tired of all of this. I’m ready to move on. I know God put me in this position. Everybody has their own story and that’s my story now,” he said.
“It’s so amazing. I have no one else to thank but God and my family…Now I gotta clear my head and get back to the thing I love, football.”