Adrian Clayborn injury: Buccaneers DE 'doing well in recovery'

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Tampa's third-year lineman missed most of last season after tearing his ACL. Is he going to be able to live up to his former potential as a first-round pick?

Adrian Clayborn had a promising rookie season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011, recording 7.5 sacks and 40 tackles in 16 starts. The potential to build off of that performance after being the 20th overall pick in the draft the year prior vanished in 2012 when he tore his ACL in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, but since then Clayborn says he has been working hard to recover for next season. In fact, he says that he hasn't only been working to improve from the injury, but to come back stronger than he was before.

"It just feels great to be out here, and to be stronger, upper body-wise," he said. "They’re just holding me back to be smart about it. But everything I’ve been doing, I’ve been great at. So I’m good."

Clayborn's participation might be spotty at best in May and June, but the team likely would hope to have him at full strength and participation by training camp so that he can enter the 2013 season healthy and prepared.

A first-team All-American at Iowa, Clayborn recorded just two total tackles and no sacks last year before going down with his injury. The Buccaneers are hoping to make a return trip to the playoffs after the high-profile acquisitions of Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis on defense, perhaps taking less pressure off of players like Clayborn to perform. Not that he's let that slow him down in his recovery anyway.

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