He got the call Friday morning.
After nearly a year of waiting to get back onto the football field, Navarre linebacker Aaron Mitchell was cleared to play again.
“I was expecting (my doctor) to say to wait a week to play, but he told me I could play (Friday),” Mitchell said. “I decided I wanted to get out there and get some playing time.”
Mitchell was thrilled. You can be sure of that. He’s waited a long time to hear the roar of the crowd, the thrill of making a tackle, the excitement of walking off the field with his teammates celebrating a victory.
But to ask Mitchell to describe the feelings he experienced after the Raiders demolished Fort Walton Beach 48-6 Friday night at Bennett C. Russell Stadium was nearly impossible for him to do.
“Everyone has been asking me that,” Mitchell said. “But there isn’t a word to describe the feeling. It’s way too good.”
The voice of the public address announcer at the stadium boomed over the speakers as he called out the first tackle Mitchell made. The crowd went crazy.
“It felt good to be out there again,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been in practice hitting and it felt good to do it on the game field again.”
It was a stark contrast to last October when the crowd was silent as Mitchell laid in pain on a trainer’s table on the Navarre sideline. A torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus pulled the rug out from under him on his remarkable junior season.
Mitchell said over the summer that the injury humbled him big time and he wasn’t sure what his future in football held for him. He was told in August that he would have another 12 months of recovery ahead of him.
“It’s a miracle,” Mitchell said. “I give all the glory to God. I just kept staying with the grind and kept praying and the next time I saw the doctor he told me I only had a month to go until I could play.”
Read more in the Sept. 29 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.