Will Dissly admitted there were moments when he questioned whether or not he’d make a full recovery. The history of players suffering a torn patellar tendon wasn’t necessarily on his side.
Many players are able to return from the devastating knee injury, but very few are able to be the same players they once were. Jimmy Graham, Victor Cruz and Cadillac Williams are three notable names who struggled to regain form after tearing their patellar tendon.
But Dissly was determined to keep the negative thoughts from derailing his rehab.
“My mindset was: ‘OK I have to attack this.’ Once you get injured, you can’t get uninjured,” he said matter-of-factly.
The Seahawks second-year tight end referred to the grind of his recovery process as “groundhog day.” Now nearly a full year removed from the injury, Dissly is remarkably back to his old self. He’s showing he’s a capable weapon for Russell Wilson, just as he was the first few weeks of his rookie season.
Wilson found Dissly in the end zone twice last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. One score came up the right seam and the other up the left.
“Having that moment – getting in the end zone, kind of being back and winning games is the best feeling ever,” Dissly said. “I just love the game of football so much, and I worked so hard to get back, so when positive things happen it’s definitely nice.”
Dissly recalled a day during the offseason program in the spring. He’d been doing straight-line running for a while, but Seattle’s training staff now wanted to see him move laterally. They told him to run straight and then make a 90-degree cut. Dissly did so without any pain, which helped him clear a huge mental hurdle.
“It was just like, alright let’s get bigger, stronger, faster at that point,” he said.
He continued to make steady progress, so much so that he was ready for the start of training camp. Seattle limited his reps in the early going purely on a precautionary basis.
Dissly has been able to find the silver lining in his injury. He told reporters that he had to relearn how to run and cut while he made baby steps toward his return.
“I almost feel like I’m more efficient in my cuts than I was prior to injury,” he said. “That was kind of a positive that I took out of it.”
A healthy Dissly adds an extra element to Seattle’s offense, evidenced by his production in Week 2. He was Wilson’s go-to target in the red zone, and he caught back-to-back passes on Seattle’s game-clinching drive to close out the fourth quarter against the Steelers. He caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and the two scores.
”It’s a testament to the athleticism that he has,” Wilson said on Thursday. “He can do everything. He can really catch. His timing is remarkable. His catch radius is really special.”
Dissly now has four touchdowns in just six career games. He’ll look to add to that total in Week 3 agains the New Orleans Saints.