Originally written on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Nine days. That's barely more than a week after eight months of waiting. Ask Avery Patterson how long that was. Patterson's made a full recovery from a torn ACL, a courageous and thorough rehab that rivaled Adrian Peterson's in its intensity. A senior leader with an inspiring story, he'll be one of the Ducks counted on in a very strong secondary this season.  #21 for the Ducks defense is a valuable resource for John Neal and Nick Aliotti, because the 5-10, 189-lb. defensive back can play all five positions in the defensive backfield. He's a capable cover man who can play cornerback on either side, comfortable in the nickle back position lining up on a slot receiver, and knowledgeable at either safety spot. Run Forest, run: Avery Patterson discovers his magic legs, timing an out route with great anticipation for a 34-yard pick-six in a September road game against Washington State (Otto Greule jr., Getty images photo)     Patterson can strike a blow. He's fierce hitter who's laid out tailbacks and tight ends that outweigh him by 20 to 80 pounds, a form tackler who wraps up and hits with passion and aggression. In the videotape below you'll see him one inch out of control, driving Cameron Marshall to the turf in the open field. Before the knee injury he suffered in the second quarter of the Cal game, Patterson had emerged as a leader and dependable starter after John Boyett went down with an injury. During a stretch at midseason he picked off passes in three straight games, jumping an out route perfectly against Conner Halliday for a 34-yard touchdown, then doing the same thing the very next week against Keith Price and the Huskies, this time for a 43-yard score. The very next game he grabbed a tipped ball from Taylor Kelly and returned it 34 yards down to the one yard line, nearly scoring a hat trick of pick sixes, something that's never been done in Oregon history. Recovery was hard. Avery hurt the knee on the road at Berkeley, and, being from Pittsburgh, nearby at the north tip of the Bay, his friends and family were all there. He told Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune,  "Especially on that first night I got hurt, probably the hardest time of my life, just going through that, seeing my family more upset than I was really hurt me. I wanted to get back on the field and make everyone else proud. That's why I play football. I like to make my teammates proud, the fans proud, community proud, city where I'm from proud, my family proud." At media day he told reporters,  “The first couple of weeks were really difficult because we were going through things as a team and I wanted to get out there and help them,” Patterson said. “(Rehab) started out a little difficult because it was the middle of the football season and I wasn’t really motivated to do much. I had to learn to walk again and a lot of things like that. Once I got back to myself, once I was able to walk again and do a lot of things I wanted to do, it was (good) from there.” “I took it day-by-day and really worked on trying to get healthy, not trying to push things when I shouldn’t and knowing when to go hard when I needed to,” he said. “I think that’s the real key in the recovery phase and after that getting into football shape.” He credits the training staff for motivating him during the rehab. Patterson sat out spring practice as a precaution, but he's full-go now and not worrying about the injury. He's stood out in practice, making plays like he always has. The versatile defensive back was fourth on the team in tackles when he got hurt with 44. As a sophomore playing on special teams and in reserve, he racked up 55, with a blocked punt in the Washington State game that Bo Lokombo returned for a touchdown, the first score in a game the Ducks started sluggishly. Teammates marvelled at the courage and determination he's shown in his comeback. All-league cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu told Gary Horowitz of the Statesman-Journal,  “He’s looking good. Coming off an injury, he prepared to come back better than anyone I’ve seen.” The pick six versus WSU:   Pick six versus Washington:   Defensive highlights from the Arizona State game, in which Avery had three tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, and a int:   Patterson's recovery, with the work ethic he has and the pride he plays with, completes the picture in the Oregon secondary. John Neal has a couple of fierce cover corners in Terrance Mitchell and Ekpre-Olomu, a trio of smart, solid deep backs in Erick Dargan, Brian Jackson and Patterson, all of whom can cover and hit, able to play rover, nickle back, strong safety or free safety. All five are adept at coming up on the run, complete football players who don't shy away from contact. The bench is strong also. Juniors Troy Hill and Dior Mathis could start for most teams in the conference. Mathis is one of the fastest players on the team, and Hill is a pound-for-pound hitter who had a pick six of his own against Arizona. Young players like Chris Seisay and Reggie Daniels have had a strong camp, as well as 6-4, 200-lb. freshman Tyree Robinson.  Oregon intercepted 26 passes last season, tops in the nation. They returned the ints for a total of 501 yards and four tds. Everybody underestimates the Webfoot defense. In 2013, that will be even harder to do. Welcome back, Avery Patterson. It's going to be a fun year.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser


Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.