As he spent much of August bedridden inside a New York City hospital, Sage Rosenfels' first thought wasn't about finding the source of the mysterious blood infection that had landed him there.
The quarterback was more worried about when -- of even if -- he could resume his NFL career.
"There are times when it really did hit me how sick I was," Rosenfels told FOXSports.com on Wednesday morning. "I guess that should have been my main concern, but most of the time, I was more concerned about getting back on the practice field."
Rosenfels finally will get that chance once again. Now medically cleared by the New York Giants, Rosenfels was released from injured reserve Tuesday and is clear to sign as a free-agent elsewhere.
Based on his strong 2011 preseason and career body of work, Rosenfels shouldn't be out of work for long.
A 10-year NFL veteran with 12 career starts and numerous backup appearances, Rosenfels again showcased his skills in New York's preseason opener against Carolina. Rosenfels completed 13 of 19 passes for 129 yards despite playing with strep throat.
In the days that followed, Rosenfels felt even worse.
"I was having extremely painful throat issues," Rosenfels said. "I was in the hospital two different times. The strep got into my bloodstream and caused severe back spasms and cramps. There were lots of days in the hospital with the doctors trying to figure out what the issues were and how to fix them."
Rosenfels thought he had turned the corner in early September as the final roster cuts approached. But when he told the Giants about lingering soreness in his back, an MRI was taken that revealed what Rosenfels described as a "hot spot." Rosenfels was sent back to the hospital and placed on injured reserve as the Giants pared their squad to the NFL-mandated 53 players and stuck with David Carr as Eli Manning's backup. The transaction also left Rosenfels ineligible to play again for the Giants in 2011.
"Fortunately, that (back problem) went away really quickly," said Rosenfels, who has since regained the 10 pounds he lost during his ordeal. "For most of the last month, I've just been getting back into top physical shape. The Giants didn't push me out the door. They were very professional about allowing me to slowly come back from this thing and work with their strength coaches and trainers to where I'm strong enough to play again."
Because of his extensive experience in different offensive schemes, Rosenfels should be an attractive option for a team, like Miami, that is seeking quarterback help. The Dolphins will be without Chad Henne indefinitely because of a shoulder injury suffered Sunday against San Diego.
"I do feel I have value, in that regard," said the 33-year-old Rosenfels, who has been with Washington, Miami Houston, Minnesota and the Giants since entering the league as a 2001 fourth-round draft choice.
"There are not many systems I don't know, although there are always the fine details you have to learn. It does take time, but I do think I can come in and be productive."