"I'll be ready when I'll be ready." Those were the words said by Rashan Gary enough times Wednesday that it could have been mistaken for a song chorus.
This has obviously been part of Gary's mental process as the fifth-year Green Bay Packers linebacker has been working his way back from a torn ACL.
There is some hope that Gary can make what can only be considered an early return, possibly even by Week 1, but marking anything down as concrete would be premature at this juncture.
What needs to be the primary focus for Gary is returning fully recovered from last year's season-ending injury and not forgoing the complete rehabilitation process in order to return for Green Bay's first game at less than 100%.
Rashan Gary's return is significant for Packers' young defense
Gary is a key member of the Packers defense and when he does return will be counted on as a playmaker. It becomes more important for Gary to make sure he is healthy upon returning due to the relative youth in Green Bay's defensive front.
The Packers are currently placing a ton of faith in a defensive line that can only be described as green. With that comes added responsibility for veterans and that includes Gary, among others. They will be expected to pick up for the inexperienced group in front of them when necessary, and that can be a tough task for anyone, not just someone coming off a torn ACL.
In his four seasons with the Packers, Gary has developed into a key member of their defense. Gary has improved as time has gone on in Green Bay, registering five or more sacks in three straight seasons with 2021's 9.5 currently his career-high.
In fact, Gary was on track to surpass several high marks before his injury, including tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. The hope is that the ACL injury does not alter the trajectory of Gary's career so much that he is not able to get back to where he was headed. If Gary is able to resemble his former self, it would be a huge boost to Green Bay's defense and ultimately how this season plays out.