Will the Patriots running back be ready and available when training camp kicks off on July 24? The tight-lipped second-year star told NFL Network's Omar Ruiz at the Gatorade Player of the Year ceremony that that's the plan.
"It's a process and it's just something that I'm just kind of working towards," Michel told Ruiz on Tuesday evening. "That's the goal to be ready for training camp."
Asked if his minor knee procedure was at all related to the injury that sidelined him during training camp and part of the 2018 season, Michel dismissed such speculation.
"It's all part of the game. I wouldn't relate it to last year," Michel added. "Last year was last year. This is a whole new time. Anything can happen."
Reading between the RB's comments and recent reports about Michel's health, it appears the Patriots back will be ready to roll later this month.
NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported two weeks ago that Michel was "progressing quickly" from his offseason surgery and running at "full tilt," spending "considerable time" rehabbing at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Foxborough.
The 2018 first-round pick established himself in a crowded RB room as New England's go-to back during the Patriots' postseason run. Michel racked up 336 rushing yards and an NFL-record six touchdowns during New England's march to victory in Super Bowl LIII. He finished the regular season with as many scores and 931 rushing yards on 209 carries (4.45 YPC).
His status on the 2019 Patriots is unclear. New England is returning a packed backfield with Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and James Develin. Michel's playing time could be threatened especially by the addition of Alabama tailback Damien Harris, who reportedly had a strong spring while Michel was out.
Michel is eager to build off his historic postseason and does not expect a sophomore slump.
"Just build on those moments," Michel said of his goal for 2019. "Build on what I've done. See can I raise it to another level? How much can I learn from it? How much can I take away from it to add? I think that's what it's all about. Just building on top and just trying to improve."