If there's ever been a Cornell athlete who faced adversity, stared it down and overcame it, it's JC Tretter '13.
His grit is getting a workout, yet again.
The NFL draft pick for the Green Bay Packers missed his May graduation after breaking a leg bone and tearing ligaments during his first practice as a professional football player.
If that wasn't bad enough, Tretter's first pair of crutches crumpled under his 307-pound frame.
NFL scouts this past year encouraged Tretter to put on weight to make the pros. During his Big Red seasons, he had already proven he was one of the fastest and smartest potential 2013 draft picks.
In an interview this week, Tretter said he began walking two weeks ago after 14 weeks on crutches.
"At this point, we are just working on strengthening my calf, hip, groin and quad, as well as making sure my stride gets back to normal and I'm not favoring my repaired leg," said Tretter, who fractured his fibula, the leg's outer long bone.
"Every day, the ankle and leg is getting stronger and walking becomes more natural again," he said from Green Bay, Wis.
Team doctors have said it could take another three months for Tretter to recover and get back in shape. Family and friends are hoping he is on the playing field before the season ends.
Tretter's agent, Alan Herman, told reporters in May that Tretter's injury occurred when his cleat stuck in the turf during a fumble recovery drill. The injury required surgery.
Tretter has overcome injuries before.
In January, Tretter suffered his fifth broken nose.
Sitting out the Senior Bowl All-Star Game Senior Bowl – where scouts often identify NFL draft picks – was a disappointing setback on his road to the NFL.
Tretter made another comeback on April 26, when the Packers selected him in the draft's fourth round.
On May 20, his ankle ligaments tore and his fibula snapped.
His determination seems unshaken, though.
"From here on," he said, "I will just continue to stay positive and continue to work hard and rehab hard to get back to playing as soon as possible."