Armstead healthy, humbled as career begins

Armstead healthy, humbled as career begins
May 3, 2013, 1:15 pm
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FOXBORO -- Armond Armstead is not your typical rookie-camp attendee. 

"I don't know what to consider myself," the 22-year old defensive lineman laughed. "I would say I am a rookie in the NFL."

True, that's what he is according to New England's mini-camp roster. But there's more to Armstead than that sheet of paper lets on. 

Height: 6-5. Weight: 298-pounds. College: Southern California. 

Ah. That's where things get interesting. 

Armstead has an active lawsuit against his alma mater. He sued in the summer of 2012, alleging that USC doctors forced on him the painkiller Toradol without informing him of the possible side effects. Armstead believes the drug caused a him to suffer a heart attack after his junior season, damaging his future earning potential. He wasn't medically cleared to play during his senior year in 2011 and went undrafted in 2012. 

This is a player who, as a junior, was projected as a second or third-round pick. 

"I feel like a lot of the life experiences I've had in the past two or three years have humbled me a lot," he said. "It's just made me appreciate everything I'm given more and not take stuff for granted. Being a highly-recruited player and going to a school like USC, you kind of take for granted the opportunities. You see guys who don't even play go to the NFL so you take that for granted, you think, 'Oh, I'm going to go to the NFL, too.'

"But my experience definitely made me more hungry and made me more humble."

Armstead met with the Patriots in 2012, but nothing came of it. How did he fill the time between then and now? The Canadian Football League. He led the Toronto Argonauts with six sacks and also had 43 tackles last year. 

Though the CFL season seemed to ease concerns about his heart -- enough for New England to sign him in January -- Armstead knows they may linger. He addressed them Friday. 

"My health is fine," he stated. "I haven't had any problems since what happened at SC. I've been healthy. I played in Canada, I didn't miss any games or practices. I haven't had any issues. I just went through physicals and am healthy." 

"I feel like the experiences I've had throughout my life have definitely -- I wouldn't say, have given me a chip on my shoulder -- but I don't take anything for granted. I approach work every day and I appreciate everything I'm given a lot more. I'm not angry at anybody but I just want to show everyone what I can do."