Former Gator tight end Cornelius Ingram has not played a football game since Jan. 1, 2008.
In case you want the math, that’s more than 31 months.
Despite the 41-35 loss to Michigan that day, Ingram was at the most successful point of his athletic career.
After helping Florida capture its second national championship in 2006, “CI” was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2007 and a finalist for the John Mackey Award presented to the nation’s best tight end.
Rather than bolt for the NFL, Ingram chose to return to UF and improve his draft status, as well as chase another title.
Then, things changed.
On Aug. 6, 2008, Ingram seriously injured his anterior cruciate ligament at the beginning of fall practice. As a result, he missed out on his senior season and first-round potential.
Although he was sidelined for most of the year, Ingram showed enough to get drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Given his unique combination of size (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) and speed (sub-4.6 40-yard dash), many considered CI to be a steal for the Eagles.
Signed to a 4-year, $1.9 million deal, Ingram was set to compete for early and often playing time at tight end.
Then, things changed … again.
Ingram re-tore his ligament during Philadelphia’s training camp and was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 1, 2009.
It was yet another setback for the Hawthorne, Fla., native, who had to watch Eagles tight end Brent Celek dominate his position like Aaron Hernandez did at Florida.
Now, CI is back.
Coming off a productive and promising mini-camp where he was 100 percent healthy, the wait is finally over for Ingram.
He sat down with ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive to discuss the past two years and his recovery process, new teammate Riley Cooper, Gator football and his CI foundation.