Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr feared he may never be able to fully recover from the broken leg he suffered that derailed their 2016 season.
Carr sustained the injury in the penultimate game of the regular season on Christmas Eve - a 33-25 win over the Indianapolis Colts - keeping him out of their playoff campaign.
Without Carr under center the Raiders slumped to a 27-14 defeat to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round.
But he is now back on the field preparing for the new campaign and told reporters: "The hardest part was taking the first rep, because the last rep you remember was like, 'Oh snap, I broke this thing'.
"But as soon as the ball was snapped, it was a blessing. It kind of all went away.
"Now, I'm just playing ball again, but leading up to it, I think that was the worst part ... the lead-up, all the rehab. It was like, 'Man, when am I ever going to be able to do this again.' It felt like it was never going to happen."
Having won 12 of the 15 games he played in last season, Carr and the Raiders should be optimistic of another impressive campaign, particularly with more weapons at his disposal with wideout Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Jared Cook in the fold and Marshawn Lynch potentially eating up yards in the backfield.