One of the great things about restoring from a backup is that, in a way, you’re travelling back in time. You’re going back to that special place in time before your two-year-old dumped your laptop in the tub, or before your hard drive finally decided it’d had enough of your 24 hour gaming sessions.
With the NFL preseason in full swing, the fact that 300 pound men are now crashing into each other at full speed has hastened the return of everyone’s least favorite event in sports – the injury. The loss of a player due to a unforeseen injury can alter the outcomes of games, success of teams, and in some cases, the careers of coaches or front office types. Even though we’re only a few weeks into the preseason, there are already quite a few players who’s season is already done due to injury.
Here are five players fans wish they could restore to a previous, uninjured version:
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles – Torn ACL
Chip Kelly’s arrival as Eagles’ head coach signaled a changing of the guard in Philly. Kelly’s up tempo offense is not without it’s doubters, but with players like Maclin (and fellow receiver Arrelious Benn, also injured) hopes were high in the City of Brotherly Love that Kelly’s fast paced style of play would restore the Eagles to the top of the standings. With Maclin out for the season, Philly fans are hoping they can simply hit the restore button next season, and won’t need to reset everything after a year or two of the Chip Kelly experiment.
Most likely backup: Riley Cooper
Brian Bulaga, OT, Green Bay Packers – Torn ACL
Yes, we’re not excited about talking about an offensive lineman either, but Bulaga has been a mainstay in the Packers’ trenches for the last three years, serving as the critical “blindside” protector to all-everything quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Some pundits had picked the Packers to finish first in their division, and while Rodgers and the cheeseheads are used to playing (and winning) in the face of adversity, Bulaga’s absence will be a blow (perhaps literally) to the Packers and their star QB. One can only hope Bulaga’s backup (rookie David Bakhtiari) will be up to the challenge.
Most likely backup: David Bakhtiari
Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks – Hip injury (labrum)
Harvin’s arrival in Seattle was a source of excitement for the fans of the beleaguered Seahawks, who made their first visit to the playoffs in two years with rookie QB Russell Wilson calling the shots. Harvin was to be the featured weapon for an already powerful offense, but hip problems sidelined him before the season really got started. While the Seahawks’ receiving core certainly isn’t lacking in talent this year, fans are anxiously hoping the rumors about Harvin being “restored” to the team in late November or early December come true.
Most likely backup: Doug Baldwin
Dustin Keller, TE, Miami Dolphins – Torn ACL, PCL, MCL, and dislocated kneecap (Essentially his entire leg was blown up)
While Dolphins fans may be hoping to restore Keller to his previous consistency at tight end, Keller himself is pushing for a quick recovery. After spurning the New York Jets to sign a one-year deal with the Dolphins, Keller was banking on his status as young quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s check down option to produce a monster year and a correspondingly large contract. Now out for the season and rehabbing a gruesomely shredded knee, Keller and Dolphin fans are left to wonder “what if”. There are even a few questions as to whether Keller will see the field again in Dolphins teal and white, or in any other uniform for that matter.
Most likely backup: Charles Clay
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens – Fractured and dislocated hip
Technically Pitta suffered his hip injury (which drew some similarities to Bo Jackson’s career-altering hip injury in 1991) earlier in the year, but it still casts a shadow over the Ravens’ efforts to defend their Super Bowl title. Pitta had his best reason as a professional in 2012, and his 61 catches and 7 touchdowns were a result of his chemistry with gun-slinger QB Joe Flacco. 13% of Pitta’s catches were for more than 20 yards, so Ravens fans are hoping someone is there to pick up the slack.
Most likely backup: Ed Dickson.
Of course, as the season continues, NFL fans will continue to find their team’s outlook changed due to injuries across the league. Owners, players, and fans alike know that in a game as rough and aggressive as football, a backup plan is key.