Mettenberger shows NFL he's ready to play

By By The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE — Wearing an LSU helmet, shoulder pads and a yellow practice jersey, Zach Mettenberger took a mock snap and rolled

hard to his right, rifling passes to former LSU receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

Less than four months after reconstructive left knee surgery, Mettenberger came away from LSU’s pro day looking a lot like

the quarterback who racked up 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

“That was one of the biggest things we

wanted to show,” Mettenberger said after Wednesday’s workout, which was

viewed by numerous

NFL personnel. “Just my knee health and mobility was a lot in

question. I was able to roll out and throw accurate balls with

something behind them.

“It was fun. I’ve been saying for a

couple weeks now that I was healthy and good enough to go and I don’t

think all of y’all

believed me,” Mettenberger added. “The biggest thing I wanted to

do is show that I could go out there, take an explosive drop

and throw down field like everyone knows I can.”

Mettenberger’s college career ended as

he unloaded a 32-yard completion to Landry during LSU’s regular-season

finale against

Arkansas on Nov. 29. Taking a hit as he threw, Mettenberger tore

his anterior cruciate ligament and sprained his medial collateral

ligament. Doctors gave the latter injury time to heal before

repairing the ACL in January with a piece of Mettenberger’s hamstring.

LSU head athletic trainer Jack Marucci

said while ACL repairs have traditionally been performed using a piece

of the patient’s

patellar tendon, LSU and the Tigers’ orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brent

Bankston, have had a lot of success using hamstrings for

more than a decade. Marucci mentioned a host of other LSU players

who’ve had the same procedure and returned quickly to training,

including running backs Stevan Ridley and Joseph Addai.

Marucci said Cybex tests — in which a machine is used to comparatively measure the strength of both legs — showed Mettenberger’s

left leg was about 95 percent as strong as his healthy leg. Mettenberger, who is right-handed, pushes off with his healthy

right leg when he throws.

“I showed I’m healthy enough to go through practice, compete for a job — and by the time the season rolls around in September,

I should be fully healed,” Mettenberger said.

His decision to wear pads was made months ago and was not influenced by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s decision to

also work out for NFL personnel in pads, Mettenberger said.

“The game is played in pads,” he said. “I just think it’s going to be a new trend for quarterbacks to work out with pads on.”

Mettenberger missed on a few throws, twice throwing behind Beckham on crossing routes, and was breathing heavily when the

workout ended.

“I’m three months out of surgery and not in playing shape. My legs are kind of tired. That’s kind of something to expect,”

he said. “I’m doing everything I can to work through that.”

Mettenberger had not yet visited any NFL clubs for private workouts, but said he has some scheduled as soon as Thursday with

Jacksonville, followed by another Saturday with Detroit.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was among the coaches and scouts who attended the workouts.

“It’s as good a workout as I’ve seen

just with regards to the amount of throws, but to know he’s

three-and-a-half months post-surgery,

that’s pretty impressive,” Payton said. “It says a lot about him —

and his doctor.”

Mettenberger’s workout was conducted by

LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a former offensive coordinator

and head coach

in the NFL. Cameron said Mettenberger’s pro day performance was a

testament to the quarterback’s work ethic, and that Mettenberger

is ready for the NFL.

“His skill set translates extremely

well to that league,” Cameron said. “The bottom line is the guy’s got to

be tough, got

to be football smart and he’s got to be able to distribute the

ball to everybody else throughout his team under pressure and

in tight windows. Zach can do that.”