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January 22, 2008

Sweed happy to be healthy

More Senior Bowl coverage

MOBILE, Ala. - Texas safety Marcus Griffin said he saw it in Limas Sweed's face.

Things were not right with his teammate. Sweed looked to be more hurt than he wanted to let on.

A 6-foot-4, 212-pound wide receiver, Sweed had big aspirations for his senior season, but those came crashing down when he aggravated a wrist injury against Oklahoma in Texas' sixth game. The first time he hurt it was during two-a-days before the season.

"You could just see on his face how much he missed the game," Griffin said. "He's a competitor and has always been a competitor. You can tell when somebody's trying to fake it, but your facial expressions tell the whole truth. You could tell it was hurting him a lot."

Sweed had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his wrist after the loss to Oklahoma. The doctor told him his season was finished. Sweed had to stay in bed for three weeks with a cast that went almost up to his elbow, and his mother came over to cook meals.

When Texas games were televised, he listened to the commentators say the Longhorns' offense was missing its best receiver. Sweed took it hard.

"I felt like I let my teammates down and the season didn't go the way the team wanted it to," Sweed said. "We wanted to be back in the show. Things went south for me. I was angry for maybe a couple months, but then I started seeing the bigger picture and got mentally prepared for a lot more things.

"Through it all, I learned patience. I learned to be more mentally tough and I'm hungry to play. That's why I'm out here now."

Sweed, who finished the season with 19 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns, showed no signs of being injured in the first two Senior Bowl practices this week. He had his cast removed Jan. 14, and he is out to prove he's still one of the nation's elite receivers.

"I told him to play through it," Griffin said. "All the scouts know what's going on with it. I told him to play 100 percent and that's all you can do."

Multiple mock drafts have Sweed going in the first round. He finished his career at Texas with 124 receptions for 1,915 yards and 20 touchdowns in 43 games.

"It's something special to be out here, especially against some of the top-rated cornerbacks," Sweed said. "That's what you want to do. You want to go against the best and you want to prove that you're the best."

Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson, who is Sweed's teammate this week, has connected with Sweed a few times during drills. Once Sweed gets back to full strength and his wrist no longer is an issue, Woodson said he expects big things.

"He's a huge target," Woodson said. "He's as tall as me. He's obviously a great talent. Hopefully, he can get himself healthy and practice real well for the next couple days. He has a very bright future in the NFL."



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