GREEN BAY, Wis. — Andrew Quarless is happy. The 24-year-old Packers’ tight end isn’t happy about missing the entire 2012 season due to a knee injury, but Quarless is glad that his young career can return to normal next year.
“For my career, I’m happy with the decision,” Quarless said. “I’m happy, but I’m definitely frustrated. It’s definitely something I could have pushed through. I know I could have pushed it. I could have finished the season, playoffs, whatever, but it was definitely something that was going to bother me.”
Quarless suffered a gruesome right knee injury on Dec. 4, 2011 after he planted his leg and was blocked from behind in the opposite direction of where his weight was taking him.
There was optimism from Quarless that he could return this season, despite beginning the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Though the team activated him on Nov. 7 and had him on the gameday roster in Weeks 11 and 12, Quarless never got on the field in those two games.
This past weekend, just days before the one-year anniversary of his injury, the Packers ended Quarless’ comeback attempt this season by placing him on injured reserve.
“It’s definitely a year that I can’t get back,” Quarless said. “But it’s a year that just made me grow, physically, as a person and as a player. It tests you. It’s stuff I never really faced in my life.
“I would’ve loved to be out there, but for me, I would rather come back next year and be 110 percent rather than come out there and be 80 percent and then have something that could be bothering me.”
From a roster perspective, Quarless isn’t particularly needed this season. The Packers are loaded at tight end, with starter Jermichael Finley getting the majority of snaps. Tom Crabtree, as well as second-year tight ends D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor, have also contributed on offense this season.
“If I needed to be out there, I could have definitely pushed through it, but it might have been something that could have affected my whole career,” Quarless said. “It’s one of those things where, if you don’t get to rest it right now, it’s something that could definitely build up.”
Quarless wanted to play at least one snap this season, but he felt good about the work he’d put in to even be made available on gameday.
“Just speaking with the doctors, trainers, even coaches, I kind of get a sense from them that I did prove myself, that I was able to come back,” Quarless said. “I definitely showed that I could get back out there and compete. That was a positive thing I took out of it.
“My whole approach, even with the doctors, was to train as hard as we could, but also not to rush it. Train as hard as we can, whatever my knee could withstand, but don’t rush it.