New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, MA – SEPTEMBER 30: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

A return to “real football” came with the return of Patriots running back Sony Michel, who donned the pads and joined his teammates for his first practice of the summer, showing an obvious positive sign in his recovery from a lingering knee injury.

“Feels good, just working on getting it stronger,” Michel said of his knee.”There’s always room for improvement.

“I’m out here practicing. I’m ready to go. I’m learning, trying to get better, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Now, the questions and concerns about the knee were certainly valid. Michel battled knee issues in both high school and college, missed time last season due to a knee injury suffered in a win over the Bears, and missed minicamp this spring due to a knee scope. He also began this year’s training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

So, again, if you had concerns, you certainly weren’t wetting the bed for the fun of it.

But last season, and this offseason, was about more than just managing his knee, according to Michel.

“I had to maintain my entire body [last season],” Michel admitted. “In the sport of football, everybody knows it’s a high-collision game and you’ve got to be able to just maintain your whole body throughout the season.

“It’s all about preparing, getting bigger, faster, stronger. Just trying to work on your game, building up to the season and getting to this point of training camp. Once you get here, it’s all about building day-by-day.”

Michel rushed for 931 yards with six touchdowns in 13 games with the Patriots last season.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.