Orchard Park, NY -- A big question heading in to the start of the Buffalo Bills mandatory mini-camp revolved around top receiving target Stevie Johnson.
How much, if at all, would he be able to participate in team drills during the three day session? Through just one day, it's fair to call his activity on the playing field 'limited' during 7-on-7's and 11-on-11's.
"They took care of me. I had 10-11 plays, but as a competitor I wanted to go out there and do more," Johnson said after practice Tuesday. "I believe in what they're doing. They gave me the right steps since the surgery, so, I'm going to go with what they're doing now. I believe in it."
A little after the 2012 NFL Draft, Johnson underwent successful minor surgery to repair a tear in his groin. The injury occurred in training camp last season when the receiver said he felt it pop. He successfully played through the entire campaign, but wasn't able to shake the pain all the way through.
If you'll recall, there were times at the end of contests that Johnson had to take one play off. It was apparent from his body language that he was writhing in pain. To his credit, he got back on the field as soon as his body let him.
Now with the surgery in tow, Johnson says it's going to be a whole new world for him.
"As far as my groin, I haven't felt this good since before this happened in training camp," the receiver declared. "I feel like come season time, I'll be good. I won't have any tightness, any fatigue late in games. I think I'll be good to go."
Working through the rust is something that each player that endures an injury must work through the following season.
"That's why I wanted to come out for this mini-camp, so I can get acquainted to running routes and trying to get over the mental aspect of being out there, and cutting on my left leg and trying to trust it," Johnson said. "I think this is big. I don't want to go to training camp thinking how I'm thinking now out there. I think this is a big step."
So how did his first day back in team drills go? The Bills number-one wide receiver was critical of himself, but only because he's the only one inside his own mind.
"[The Bills] said it looked good, I felt like I was a bit slow. Cutting in, coming to the right it felt like it's heavy," Johnson remarked. "It's just a mental thing, because I didn't feel any sharp pain like I did all last year. I felt like I'm good, so tomorrow hopefully I'll be able to go out there and focus on plays, and who's lined up across from and defenses and all the other stuff. Today was more of, 'If I cut right here, will it pop...' what's going to happen next. I feel like if I get a few more plays I'll be good."
He and the Bills have two more days of the mini-camp, before the team breaks until the start of training camp in late July. Johnson added he's aiming to run plenty of routes in the off-season against defensive backs during the month off.