HALLANDALE BEACH — The past year was full of mixed blessings for Davin Joseph.
Starting with a major knee injury in a preseason game last summer, the Pro Bowl offensive lineman found a few fulfilling off-field activities. His expanded community service role continued Saturday at Hallandale High School for a second annual youth football camp at his alma mater.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneer hopes to be back at full strength when training camp begins later this month and he'll return with added perspective. He saw every one of his 9-year-old son Ali's baseball games — something he couldn't have done normally.
But now, nearly a year after tearing his patellar tendon, Joseph's smile can't hide his excitement for a return to the football field.
"I need to get hit again," he said matter of factly.
And he was never worried about the unfortunate circumstance ending his dream. A typical day involved two hours of rehab in the morning followed by another two hours of cardio. About 90 minutes of treatment wrapped things up.
Washington Redskin Trent Williams, a former star at Oklahoma like Joseph, was at Hallandale High School as a guest coach for the clinic. He believes Joseph will be back to his old self this fall, saying he's still in the top two at his guard position.
"I think after seeing what Adrian Peterson did last year coming off totally tearing every ligament in his knee, that should just let you know how athletes can recover now a days," the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft said.
And that doesn't even account for the easily recognizable spirit Joseph exudes.
He was a magnet for youth campers at his Saturday event and the smile rarely left his 6-foot-3, 313-pound frame.
Joseph just loves football that much.
"One day, they're going to have to tell me, 'Look Davin, you're going to have to go home,' " he said. "I'm just addicted to it. I'm in love with football."
When he got to Tampa Bay as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2006 draft, a decade-long career sounded attractive to the Hallandale High grad.
"Now that 10 is coming close, I can extend it to 15," he said. "I just work my butt off and play to the best of my ability, and I believe it will come."
But events like Saturday's bring a different kind of fulfillment to Joseph.
They had more than 160 young players receive free physicals while meeting some of the best offensive linemen in the game. Along with Pro Bowlers like Joseph and Williams, former and current NFL players including Jeremy Zuttah, Jeremy Trueblood, E.J. Biggers and James Lee were there to meet the kids.
Former UM lineman Jeremy Lewis also helped serve as a role model at the one-day camp. He calls Joseph "a good friend," after meeting him a few months ago when he was with the Bucs. The West Palm Beach product was waived by the Bucs on June 19, but he's still hoping to get back with the franchise.
He's the kind of influence today's youth needs, Joseph said.
"As we know with so much negative spin that gets put on NFL players, it's great for young kids to get to know some positive guys — some real men," Joseph said.
Soon, those men will head back to the grind.
Joseph can't wait, of course. Training camp isn't what it used to be, though. Two-a-days are no more, but the routine is still brutal.
"It's one of the hardest things you can do," he said while struggling to find the word to explain it. "It's just so … footballish. It's so football."
A Pro Bowler in 2008 and again in 2011, Joseph doesn't see his talents diminishing just yet.
"I plan on earning my starting spot back out of respect for what I can do today," he said, "not of what I've done."
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