Coach (Mike) Holmgren gave us the week off for the bye week, so all the coaches got out of here and all the players left too. That really helped make it like any other bye week for me. I did the same thing I would have done if I was still playing - spending time with my family and made sure I got a lot of rest.
But now that it's time to go back at it on the field it's real different and it's making it real obvious that I'm not a player anymore. It's settling in again that my career is over. I've been healed up for a while. For the three weeks now that I haven't hit anybody and nobody has hit me, I feel pretty good. It's kind of strange.
I sleep like a baby now. It's amazing how different this is. A part of my life that has been so dominant for 15 years in the NFL and high school and college before that, it's just not there anymore physically. Obviously, there's a big part of me that is sad about it. But there's another part of me - my body - saying, 'This is nice. I feel really good."
That twitching a little bit or waking up in my sleep from dreams of collisions isn't happening anymore. I'm really getting closer to the point that my body and my mind are starting to detoxify from the game. That's where my body is at this point.
But I am preparing for the Cleveland Browns just like all the other players are right now for Sunday's game. I got a playbook and I got a DVD to watch film on the Browns. I've already talked to (running backs coach) Stump Mitchell and (offensive coordinator) Gil Haskell about a thought or two I had about the offense this week. That's all I want to be. I'm not a coach. I'm not still playing. A lot of times, I just want to be a guy encouraging guys.
I'm not just focused on the running backs, all the players on the team. Part of my responsibility is to be another set of eyes, and my job is to help make sure that guys go out with right mentality and frame of mind to practice and then for the games.
The struggle we have going on running the ball is foreign to all of us. We've always been able to run the football. Last year, it was somewhat of a problem at times, but it came around. And I think it's going to come around this year too.
We've been missing a lot of people on offense and that makes a difference to the whole chemistry. We've been missing some key receivers that make big plays and require game-planning from the defense. The last game, we were missing all three starting receivers (Deion Branch, D.J Hackett and Marcus Pollard). They make the defense think differently when they're out on the field. That prevents the defense from loading up with eight guys in the box all the time to shut down the run from all directions.
More than anything, we're just missing that cohesiveness of having everybody in place and on the same page.
That's what was so good about the bye week coming when it did. With coach giving everybody the week off, it was a good opportunity for everybody to recharge and really think about this final stretch of nine games here.
Now we should be ready as an offensive team to come back, be on the same and I think everything else will fall into place.