Deshawn Stevens said last week’s surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon was successful.
Now, the University of Maine’s preseason All-America linebacker is going to do whatever he can to help his team while he rehabilitates his season-opening injury.
Stevens, a junior co-captain, suffered the injury Aug. 30 in UMaine’s season-opening 42-14 victory over Sacred Heart.
“Everything went well,” Stevens said. “I’ve just got to rest now. I’ll see the doctor in a week and see where we go from there.”
The normal recuperative period for an Achilles tendon surgery is seven to nine months, and Stevens said suddenly not being able to play was difficult.
“It’s weird seeing things from a different perspective. But you’re still part of the team, still part of the family. That’s the kind of approach I’ve had,” said Stevens, who led UMaine with 120 tackles last season en route to All-Colonial Athletic Association second-team honors and Sophomore All-America accolades.
With the surgery behind him, Stevens is focused on finding ways to help his teammates succeed.
“I’m going to try to be the best teammate I can possibly be for everyone here, ” he said. “I want to keep making them better and make sure they are in the best shape possible and ready to go for each week.”
UMaine plans to petition the NCAA to get an extra year of eligibility for Stevens. Under NCAA guidelines, a student-athlete has five years in which to complete four years of eligibility.
Since Stevens was a healthy when he redshirted (did not compete in games) as a freshman, next season will be his fifth. He hopes to get a sixth year in 2021.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Stevens said. “I’m going to work hard to be back here.”
Junior linebacker Taji Lowe has moved over from his weak-side linebacker position to fill Stevens’ middle linebacker spot. He said Stevens has already helped him make the adjustment.
“I’m a little rusty, so talking to him and having him tell me exactly what’s going on and then having him on the sidelines [during games] should be a plus,” Lowe said.
UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said Stevens will be like having another coach.
“He will naturally do that. He is a very mature young man. He knows how to handle that role. He’s a very smart football player, so the guys will definitely go to him,” Charlton said.
The seventh-ranked Black Bears (1-1) host No. 8 Towson (2-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in their mutual CAA opener.