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Talanoa Hufanga Talks Recovery Progress and Mental Approach to Offseason

Safety Talanoa Hufanga is one of a few veterans present but not participating in the team's mandatory minicamp this week as he continues to rehab from a season-ending ACL injury. The fourth-year player went down in Week 11 of the 2023 season and, for the first time this offseason, offered updates on his recovery progress ahead of the team's 40-day summer break.

"I'm feeling great," Hufanga said. "I get a little eager out there. I'm super excited. It's fun. The days I get to go out there and watch practices, it's been a blessing. You see how much football truly means to you when you're away from it. It's everything to me. I truly do love it."

While on the sidelines of the team's practice on Wednesday, Hufanga and second-year safety Ji'Ayir Brown were chopping it up with president of football operations and general manager John Lynch.

"It's awesome because you have a Hall of Fame safety that is our general manager," Hufanga said. "Anytime you have questions you just go to him. You have to learn from him and be a sponge, absorb as much knowledge. I think the cool thing is seeing Ji'Ayir come along with it too. Now he's understanding who our GM really is. He understands ball. He's played at a high level."

Until he's able to rejoin on-the-field workouts with the team, Hufanga is also making it a point to dive into the film of his teammates, himself and other top safeties across the league.

"The amount of film I watch is probably second to none," Hufanga noted. "One thing I pride myself on - you know, I wasn't the most athletic person, so (it's about) being one step ahead film wise and on the field. It's all a mental game to me. I'm taking all these reps that these guys are given, putting myself in the position, what I would do differently, what I would do to emulate some other guys that have made great days during camp... For me it's just being a student of the game, really learning and evolving and being the best version of myself to help this team."

Given his progress up to this point, Hufanga's goal is to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. As is the case with any player and any injury, that timeline is subject to change, but he expects to participate in at least some of training camp and ramp up the rest of the way. The most important part of the recovery process is to give everything its necessary time.

"As a competitor, I would love to say, 'I want to be out there right now,'" Hufanga said. "As my knee goes, it's just a slow progression so you have to hit the stages and check off the stages and check off the boxes before you move to the next one. I do wish I was out there, and I can't wait to be back out there. I tell the guys that all the time. Being patient is a big part of this process."

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