When we last heard from ex-Patriots CB Leigh Bodden, he was speaking from a hospital bed in North Carolina. Back then, Bodden had just undergone surgery to fix a herniated disc in his back, one that ruined his 2011 season and put his future in doubt.
That was six months ago, yet Bodden’s status for 2012 is still up in the air. We spoke yesterday about the loss of his former teammate Junior Seau, and then we hit on what his plans are for this season. Bodden’s first goal?
Get his back healthy, then see what happens.
“I’ve just been working out my back, seeing if it can be able to withstand 16 games, if I can come back or not,” Bodden told me earlier in the week. “That’s what I’ve been doing, just trying to get prepared, getting this back right.”
That’s the plan. Bodden sounds like he does want to play again, but he won’t even begin to think about it until he knows he’s healthy enough to do it. The last thing Bodden wants to do is sign a contract, then have to bail because of a bad back.
“I had the surgery, so hopefully it won’t bother me,” Bodden said. “I just need to know it’s going to be able to hold up for a season and to go out on a good note rather than (how he went out in 2010).”
A former undrafted free agent, Bodden played nine years in the NFL. He’s grateful for that. He’s signed a few big contracts, and he added, “I’ve been smart with my money.” So if he can’t continue, he’s cool with it. But Bodden would still like just one more chance, if he physically can.
“Maybe I can come back and play maybe two more years, maybe three more years,” Bodden said. “I would just be focused on one season, getting back… Leaving the way I left the game wasn’t that great. But it was an injury, it was out of my hands pretty much.”
At 31 years old, he may have a few years left if his back holds up. And in a passing-driven league, who couldn’t use a tough, smart, physical cornerback who can play inside or outside? Stay tuned…