Hot on his heels: Cam Akers back from Achilles tear for Rams

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Cam Akers called his mother immediately after tearing his Achilles tendon last July, and he spent much of the next two days crying.

The Los Angeles Rams running back then wiped his eyes and hatched a plan.

“It was always my goal, if I was able, to come back for the playoffs, Akers said Thursday in his first public comments on his recovery.

It was an extraordinary goal for Akers to set after an injury that usually sidelines elite athletes and everyday people alike for many months. Still, Akers reached him earlier than expected last weekend when he played in the Rams’ regular season finale, and he’ll be back in uniform Monday night when Los Angeles (12-5) hosts the Cardinals. of Arizona (11-6) in the first playoff game in SoFi Stadium history.

About 5 1/2 months after realizing something had gone horribly wrong during a private practice session before training camp, Akers is a self-proclaimed ‘100%’ at the end of his second season in the NFL.

No one would have been surprised if Akers had taken a year off to complete a deliberate and normal rehabilitation of a sometimes tricky injury.

But Akers does not want to wait.

“I want to win the Super Bowl,” he said.

Akers credits his comeback to a combination of hard work and full support from the Rams, but he candidly acknowledges the minor identity crisis that plagues many elite young athletes during their first major injury setback.

Akers described his main motivation in rehab as “the fear of not being able to be me. It’s something that kept me awake for three months.

“The fear of not coming back the same me was all the motivation I needed,” Akers added. “There is no feeling of self-pity at that time. I had to retrain my mind, retrain my thought process and just attack. Cut out a lot of the outside noise, a lot of outside people, and just go for what you know.

Only a month into his rehab, Akers and the Rams could see that he was ahead of most normal schedules in terms of mobility and strength. The Rams never publicly rushed Akers, but the team was aligned with Akers’ desire to become a late-season boost to the Rams’ playoff hopes.

Coach Sean McVay praised Akers’ work ethic while announcing his return earlier this month. Akers realizes he didn’t do it alone.

“To come back from something so quickly, to do something that has never been done, is a blessing,” Akers said. “It’s just a testament to the way I work and the team we have. Our training staff did an amazing job of coming up with a plan and making sure I followed it through, making sure every day that I arrived with a goal and achieved it.

Akers was the Rams’ top rusher as a rookie last season, and he was expected to be their starter this year until his injury. His absence forced the Rams to trade for Sony Michel, who became their No. 1 running back with Darrell Henderson sidelined by injury down the stretch.

Akers had five carries and caught three passes against the 49ers last weekend for 13 total yards. His comeback wasn’t prolific, but it was charged enough to give Akers and his teammates confidence that this incredible comeback is real.

“I just can’t tell you how proud I am of this guy,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “It’s an incredible achievement that he was able to be available in every way, and he looks as good as he has ever looked. I think it was important for him to come out, to get We are obviously looking for more of him as he continues to be healthy.

NOTES: S Taylor Rapp (concussion protocol) and LB Leonard Floyd (fullback) missed practice Thursday as the Rams began their week of preparation on the field. CB Darious Williams (shoulder) was a full participant, and his injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as initially feared. … Stafford (toe) hasn’t been restricted in training and he doesn’t think the injury will affect him on Monday. McVay said Stafford’s mobility was limited last week against the Niners.

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