COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Replacing a concentrated look with a smile after answering a reporter's question, Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett said he's appreciative of the little things, like the ability to again make the cat-quick movements in individual drills that allowed him to earn a Pro Bowl invitation three years ago.
For the better part of two seasons, Verrett has dealt with the frustration of an ACL injury in his left knee suffered during a 2016 Week 3 contest against the Indianapolis Colts. It never fully healed, requiring a second procedure in September of last year.
Fast forward to this week when Verrett was without a brace and fully cleared for the first time in nearly two years, harboring hopes of returning to Pro Bowl form in 2018.
"You can see his energy on the field, watching him run around and interacting with the guys," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. "It's great to see him out there. He's been waiting for a long time, and he's right on track."
A first-round selection by the Chargers in the 2014 draft, the TCU product missed 39 games due to various injuries in four NFL seasons. However, Verrett believes he can stay healthy and help one of the best defensive backfields in the league improve even more.
"It's just something that I had to deal with," Verrett told reporters on Wednesday. "I hate that I had to have the injuries that I had, but it's going to be special when I bounce back this year."
With Verrett 100 percent, the Chargers return two Pro Bowl corners in Verrett and Casey Hayward.
Third-year pro Trevor Williams also played well in place of Verrett last season, giving Chargers secondary coach Ron Milus some flexibility in the back end defensively.
"He's in really good spirits," Milus said about Verrett. "He's a lot further along than he was at this time last year -- more so in his mind.
"He knows that he's coming back. He's got some of that quickness back when we go out and do drills. I see the same burst and explosion that I'm used to, and hopefully when he comes back in July, he's full speed -- he doesn't have to take any plays off. We'll see where it goes from there."
Verrett's in the final year of his rookie contract. With the Chargers picking up his fifth-year option, Verrett is scheduled to make $8.526 million in 2018.
However, even though he's in a contract year, Verrett said he's not concerned about what will happen beyond the upcoming season.
"That's something that I can't really control," he said. "What I can control is on the green grass."