11 days after being wheeled off the playing field at Lambeau Field with a loss of feeling in his lower extremities, Packers wide receiver Robert Ferguson addressed the media for the first time Thursday in the team's locker room.
The four-year veteran was upbeat, despite still not possessing full feeling in parts of the left side of his body as a result of a vicious hit he absorbed from Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovin Darius late in the teams' December 19 game.
Ferguson expressed confidence that he will be able to return to the playing field this season, saying that he'd like to be ready to play Sunday at Chicago, as unlikely as that may sound.
"I definitely think in my opinion that I can be back," he said. "I still think I can come back for Sunday against the Bears."
That probably is a little bit of ambitious thinking, given the fact that he hasn't practiced since the injury, but Ferguson has begun working out and is hoping to return to action quickly.
"I'm pretty much limited right now," he said. "I'm just doing a lot of light stuff and trying to let everything heal on its own, and it's doing it. Every day, I feel a little better besides the headaches. Every day, I physically feel a lot stronger. I'm to the point where I can do push-ups now, so it's definitely coming back."
As far as the man who applied the hit, Ferguson said that the phone call he received from Darius while in the hospital was appreciated and that he doesn't carry any animosity towards the defensive back.
"I think it just solidified how I felt - what type of person he is," the receiver said. "I didn't think he was a dirty player or anything like that, and it showed by him calling me and showing his concern.
"There's a lot of things that happen out there in the flow of the game, but I don't think you necessarily intend on hurting anyone. I definitely think it was an illegal hit, but I don't think his intent was to hurt me."
Ferguson said that he was moved by the tributes his teammates had for him in last Friday's game at Minnesota, from carrying signs with his name and number on them to setting up his locker with his uniform even though he wasn't able to make the trip.
"It was touching," he said. "It was hard for me to watch that part of the game. It's just good to know your teammates have your back like that.
"That just solidifies what type of character we have on this team and how guys really care about each other. Not just me - if anybody was in that situation, the teammates would step up like that for them."
When asked if he was thinking about writing off this season and going on injured reserve, Ferguson said he's worked too hard to give up on 2004, and that his work from last summer will help to inspire him to get back out on the field as quickly as possible.
"There's a lot of preparation and a lot of hard work that I put in coming into this season," he said. "I still want to see that play out, and I feel like the postseason is a new season. That's a chance for me to go out and show what I can do, what I can bring to the table as a receiver in this offense. That's what I'm concentrating on right now."