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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Former Jets tight end Dustin Keller 'good to go' after missing entire 2013 NFL season

By on 4/22/2014 11:30:00 AM

Tight end Dustin Keller never got a chance to be called a Miami Dolphins player. Spending his entire six-year career with the New York Jets, he was signed by Miami last free agency period to a one-year contract. Yet before the 2013 NFL season even got underway, Keller had his knee obliterated in a preseason game last summer, tearing his ACL, MCL, PCL, and dislocating his patella tendon. The Dolphins placed him on their injured reserve list and he never returned to the field. Miami released him shortly after last season ended.

But he's back.  According to Jordan Raanan of The Star-Ledger, Keller’s agent, Eugene Parker, says Keller is “ready to go” right now.  Welcome to the new age of medicine and surgery, where a 29 year-old tight end can completely heal a blown-out knee in less than a year.

Drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, Keller had a solid, healthy career until 2012.  He missed half of the 2012 NFL season with a variety of hamstring and ankle issues, but still managed 317 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.
Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons
Released to free agency after the 2012 NFL season, Keller was picked up by the Miami Dolphins last March and prepared for a new life down south.  In a hot August preseason game against Houston, he was hit extremely low by Texans safety D.J. Swearinger on a second quarter play.  This specific hit sparked a continuous debate on how defenders are hitting lower, avoiding higher hits to the head due to the NFL's new rules.

Regardless of the constant murmuring, Keller spent all of last season in rehab, training and working out while healing.  He currently remains a free agent looking for a team to take a chance on him. 

Hailing from Purdue University, in the five seasons he has played in the NFL, Keller has posted 2,876 yards with 17 touchdowns.  Keller has taken only eight short months to fully repair his knee, an amazing turnaround for an injury that used to take at least a year to heal and rehab. 

Will teams even look at him?  For Keller, the best he can hope for is a chance, and while his agent may say he is ready to go teams may not be ready to give the free agent the green light just yet. If a team does give the determined tight end a shot, Keller will need to follow it up with a productive and healthy 2014 NFL season.

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