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Dee Ford details comeback from back problems

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Outside linebacker Dee Ford #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. ( Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

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With most teams starting offseason conditioning programs yesterday, there were plenty of versions of players declaring themselves in the best shape of their lives.

But after Dee Ford’s 2017 season, he might have had a strong case for it.

The Chiefs pass-rusher struggled with a back injury last year, and played just six games before he needed season-ending surgery. And he wasn’t afraid to talk about how painful it was for him.

Imagine your leg randomly going numb,” Ford said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “That’s just what it was. And then when the feeling came back, it was pain.”

Ford said surgery was “the best thing” for him at the time, and said he expected to be 100 percent by the time training camp opens, whether that means he’s able to do much in OTAs or not. But he clearly wasn’t himself last year, after a 10-sack campaign in 2016, and playing through the pain may have made the problem worse at the time.

“It was frustrating, but it’s a lesson learned,” he said. “Players have a tendency to try to ride the wheels until they fall off. It really don’t work that way.”

Ford also has reason to get back on the field this year now that the problem is fixed, since he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. That makes his return potentially very valuable, for the Chiefs and for his future finances.