Five months before he was scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career, Jabrill Peppers suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The former first-round draft pick, who was in his third season with the New York Giants, partially tore the ACL in his right knee on a 6-yard punt return in the third quarter. He also suffered a high ankle sprain along the way. Peppers later underwent surgery on his knee and was forced to end his tenure in New York on the sidelines.
Despite being in the middle of his recovery, the New England Patriots decided to bring Peppers aboard in free agency. Signing him to a one-year, $2 million contract in late March, they gave him an opportunity to prove himself as part of their safety group.
It appears Peppers is on a good way to doing just that. After all, he gave an encouraging injury update recently.
“I had a partial tear to my ACL, but the ACL doesn’t regenerate, so they had to go in there and surgically repair it. But I would say it’s going well,” Peppers said during a media conference call on Tuesday. “I’m doing a great job listening to the medical professionals. I feel great, haven’t had any setbacks. Hopefully, we can keep this thing going.”
While his status for the Patriots’ offseason workouts is uncertain, the belief is that Peppers will be ready for training camp. No matter when he hits the field, though, the 26-year-old will join what is already one of the best safety depth charts in the NFL.
New England, after all, added him to a group that also includes veterans Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips as well as third-year man Kyle Dugger. A fully-recovered Peppers adds another versatile and experience piece to the equation.
Entering the NFL as the 25th overall selection in the 2017 draft, Peppers spent the first two years of his career with the Cleveland Browns. Despite playing a starter-level role each season, he was sent to New York in a trade also involving wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Once with the Giants, the Michigan product continued to see prominent action.
In total, Peppers has appeared in 61 games throughout his career. He has intercepted four passes, forced four fumbles and recovered five, and notched 4.5 sacks.