KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Left tackle Eric Fisher is happy to be back in the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting lineup. He admits he felt pretty down for a while this season.
Nobody should fault him for the emotion.
Fresh off a 2018 Pro Bowl campaign, Fisher missed a career-high eight games while recovering from mid-September surgery to repair a sports hernia. He only recently returned to action in Week 11.
“It’s always a bummer to be injured,” Fisher said Thursday. “It actually puts a lot in perspective. Unfortunately, you have a lot of time to think about things and you’re doing everything you can to get back on the field.”
Always a competitor, Fisher’s time away from game action prompted some reflection on how much he enjoyed playing the game and the on-field camaraderie among teammates that comes with it.
Fisher said he stayed positive during his rehabilitation process by doing everything he could, under the watchful eyes of the Chiefs’ athletic training staff, to return as soon as possible.
“Some things are out of your control when you’re injured,” Fisher said. “You control what you can control, so I did my best to control my attitude every day by coming in to work and get back as soon as possible.”
Fisher didn’t go through the recovery process alone, of course. He wasn’t the only starting offensive lineman in the training room.
He was joined by right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who missed two games with an ankle injury, and left guard Andrew Wylie, who missed three games with a high-ankle sprain.
Eager for moral support in the training room, Fisher didn’t have to look far for motivation.
“I’d see him in there busting his butt, so that was reassuring,” Wylie said. “He was attacking every day. This is a tight group. If we see someone down, we like to bring them up.”
Whatever words of encouragement that were shared among the Chiefs’ offensive line teammates will remain private. But there’s little doubt that having a healthy Fisher, Wylie and Duvernay-Tardif back in the lineup fortifies the Chiefs’ offense with five games remaining on the schedule.
The return of Fisher, in particular, means quarterback Patrick Mahomes again has a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle protecting his blindside.
“It’s really nice being out there playing next to Fish, playing next to Austin (Reiter), and having that original five out there,” Wylie said.
The Chiefs’ starting center agreed.
“It’s a great feeling having everyone back,” Reiter said.