Now the No. 2 overall selection in last April’s draft is dealing with some different emotions.
Embarrassment, mainly. But a little bit of shame, too.
Not because he has to use what is essentially a small tricycle to support his right foot to get around. It’s the fact that his mother, Reecanne, flew into Jacksonville on Sunday night so she could take care of Joeckel, who isn’t able to drive and has limited mobility.
"I see myself as kind of a grown-up now and a grown man and I still need my mom to come take care of me," Joeckel said with a sheepish grin. "I’m really happy she’s here helping out but it’s pretty tough on my self-esteem being a grown man and having my mom take care of me."
That he was able to joke about feeling like a kid again shows just how quickly Joeckel has rebounded mentally from what happened during the first quarter of the Jaguars’ 34-20 loss to St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. His right leg got caught underneath him when several players rolled into his right leg at the end of a running play and he suffered a fractured right ankle.
Joeckel said he most likely will need surgery but the final determination has not yet been made. It’s not a career-threatening injury, and Joeckel is already talking about being aggressive with is rehab so he’s about to be back on the field before OTAs next spring.
"I see myself coming back before that," he said. "I don’t really know a timeline right now but I want to get back as soon as possible. I want to have a full offseason. I want to come back and start getting back into football as soon as possible.
"Not really thinking that far in the future, but this is kind of just a bump in the road but I’m not looking at it as being that serious. I’m going to come back better from it."
Joeckel admitted Monday that the most frustrating part of the injury was that it occurred during his first game at left tackle. He had started the first four games of the season at right tackle but the Jaguars traded starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore early last week and moved Joeckel back to his natural position.
"That was probably the hardest part. I finally get to live my dream, play left tackle in the NFL, and got less than a quarter and then this happens," Joeckel said. "You know, God puts you in these situations and the only thing you can take from it is to get stronger. Just got to call on Him, call on the people that are really important in my life that’ll help me through this and come back better and stronger from all of it.
"I felt like I was getting better every week. Moving over to the left side I felt good in that first quarter. It was good to go back. It felt comfortable. My set felt better. This is hopefully just a bump in the road in a successful career."