The top cornerback in this year’s draft played the role of spectator Friday – first on the stationary bike, then as a helmet-less observer during defensive walkthroughs.
Dee Milliner – the No. 9 overall pick -- is just months removed from shoulder surgery and, though he’s itching to be on the field with his new teammates, he knows he’s got to be patient with his rehab.
“With the shoulder it is a long process, you can’t just get out there and jump right back in it because you really can’t swing your arm or anything like that,” Milliner said after the first day of rookie minicamp. “I’m just rehabbing and waiting to get back in the roll of things and I should be fine.”
He reiterated once more that he’ll be back by training camp.
“It feels great,” he said of his shoulder. It feels good. I can move it around. I have great range of motion.”
Though his first-round selection has been overshadowed by the Jets’ surprising decision to take Geno Smith 39th overall in Round 2, Milliner will need to fill some of the void left by Darrelle Revis’ departure. Milliner, a former stud at Alabama, won’t be expected to be a shutdown corner like Revis, but he will be expected to make plays – just as soon as he’s able to get back on the field.
“It is not all the way 100% healed,” Milliner, who has undergone five medical procedures in total, said of his recent shoulder surgery. “…I just know to listen to what the trainers tell me, go out there and do what they tell me to do. Until they clear me to get out there, I am going to be over there doing rehab.”
Milliner didn’t seem overly-concerned about the transition to the NFL, though. He said “mostly all of” Alabama’s defensive calls were the same as the Jets -- just different terminology.