Alvin Kamara admits he played hurt last season, talks motivation in contract season
The 2019 version of Alvin Kamara is not what was expected.
Yes, he was good but he was not as good as he was in his first two seasons.
Last year, Kamara accounted for 1,330 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage.
By comparison, in 2018, Kamara accounted for 1,592 yards and 18 touchdowns from scrimmage. That came after a rookie season in 2017 where Kamara accounted for 1,554 yards and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Kamara enters a contract year in 2020. Michael Thomas landed a huge deal most recently from the Saints. From a running back perspective, Christian McCaffery did the same and virtually broke the bank in Carolina.
“I’m not really focused on that,” Kamara said. “My main focus this offseason was getting back healthy. I had a rough year last year dealing with injuries. I dealt with that, got back healthy and I’m here now just trying to get back in the swing, trying to navigate what’s going on with this corona (virus) thing, just focused on what we have to do as a team to be able to overcome this. The contract will happen when it happens. I’m not concerned with it.”
While the speculation was widespread that Kamara was playing hurt most of last season, the star running back admitted as much Monday but he opted to play hurt to try to help the team.
“I injured myself early,” Kamara said. “The Jacksonville week (week 6, Oct. 13), I tore my knee, basically. That was something I was dealing with the whole season. It had me missing time, which I don’t like to do. I came back and tried to play as best I could, tried to manage it throughout the week. Our training staff did the best they could. I tried to put my best product out on the field. Sometimes it was enough, sometimes it wasn’t.”
The injury did not require surgery but a lot of rehabilitation, according to Kamara. He said it affected his speed and lateral cutting ability, stability and confidence.
Before the injury in the game at Carolina, Kamara felt he was on track for another big year.
“I felt good last year from game one all the way up until I hurt my knee” Kamara said. “It’s unfortunate because I feel like I was playing at a very high level. I feel like it was just on the up from there. I feel like it’s easy to reach that level but I know I’ve got more running to do. I know there’s areas I can get better at. That’s kind of what I am focused on.”
What areas are Kamara focused on to improve in 2020?
“I play pretty fast and sometimes I get ahead of myself and might miss some things that are pretty simple, my mind moving ahead of my body with pass protections or catching the ball,” Kamara said. “Sometimes, I take my eyes off the ball because of confidence that I can catch any ball that comes toward me. You’ve got to get down to the fundamentals, going back and revisiting things, fortifying things to make them stronger.”
As far as the possibility of the NFL having a season, either on time or delayed, Kamara is like most, if not all of us are.
“It’s unknown,” Kamara said. “There was a time where everybody thought this thing (virus) was going away. It came back stronger and we’re just trying to do our best within our organization to navigate the pandemic and do all the right things within protocol and our training staff to come up with to be safe and best protect ourselves, our families and our whole organization.”
Much has been about the Saints maintaining a bubble, of sorts, by having most players and staffers stay at a downtown hotel.
“During camp, we’re pretty much quarantined every year,” Kamara said. “We do the same thing every year. I guess now, we have a new term in bubble. Camp every year is the same as it is right now. We stay in a hotel, of course, barring the circumstances where we’re in a global pandemic. We’re pretty much secluded from everybody during camp. We go from the hotel to the facility back to the hotel. It’s really the same thing.”
Fully healthy and in a contract year, you can expect a big season from Kamara in 2020.
- < PREV Green Wave Preseason Camp Talk: Willie Fritz, Will Hall, Cameron Sample, Mykel Jones
- NEXT > Interview: Christian Clark on Pelicans struggles in NBA bubble, immediate future
Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…