Fans across the country are eagerly awaiting the return of NFL football in early September after another exciting offseason. Here are the top 5 NFL players returning in 2021 from season-ending injuries last year (in no particular order).
Odell Beckham Jr.:
Odell Beckham Jr. injured his left ACL on October 25th during a week 7 matchup against the Bengals last year. The ACL tear, which occurred while attempting to make a tackle following an interception, sidelined Beckham Jr. for the remainder of the season. Despite their star wide receiver sitting out the last 9 games, the Browns still managed to win their first playoff game since 1994 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a division rival.Browns fans (and fantasy football fans) should be thrilled to see Odell return to the field in 2021. The Browns are no longer the laughing stock of the NFL. With the offense and defense Cleveland has built, they are serious playoff contenders, especially with Odell Beckham Jr. back in the lineup.
Saquon Barkley, who suffered an ACL tear in week 2 against the Bears, was another high caliber fantasy player who had his 2020 season cut short. Barkley is explosive, dynamic and dangerous on the offensive side of the ball. He can just as easily hurdle defenders as he can catch passes out the backfield. The NFL is simply more entertaining with players like Saquon on the field. He broke 1,000 rushing yards in both his rookie year and hissecond year in the NFL. The NFC East might not be the most talented division in the NFL, but expect a good show with Saquon Barkley returning to the Giant’s backfield in 2021.
The defensive powerhouse out of Ohio State, who now plays on the San Francisco 49ers, was another player who suffered an ACL injury in the 2020 season. Bosa was injured during the49ers week 2 game against the New York Jets. In 2019 Bosa tallied 47 combined tackles, 9 sacks and 1 interception. Defenses across the NFC West are consistently elite, and Nick Bosa returning to the 49ers’ starting lineup, alongside teammates Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead, will provide some thrilling divisional matchups in 2021. Keep an eye on the 49ers matchups with the Rams and Cardinals in 2021 to watch some high caliber defenses in action.
Dak Prescott injured his leg while leading the New York Giants 24-23 in the third quarter of week 5 last season. Prescott experienced a compound fracture and dislocation in his right ankle. Although the Cowboys primarily focused on improving their defense during the 2021 draft, they did select wide receiver Simi Fehoko out of Stanford with the 179th overall pick. Fehoko stands at 6’4” and weighs 227 pounds. He will join Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in the Cowboys talented wide receiver room. I don’t care if you love the Cowboys or hate them, seeing Dak back on the field will be a joy to NFL fans across the country.
The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and NCAA national champion hurt multiple ligaments in his left knee during week 11 of the 2020 NFL season. Burrow tore his ACL and MCL, and partially tore his PCL and meniscus. After a successful surgery, he is expected to make a full recovery. In the 10 games he played in 2020, he completed 65.3% of his passes and averaged 268.8 passing yards per game. He also threw for 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In the 2021 season Burrow will be reunited with his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, a very highly recruited wide receiver. Expect to see some offensive chemistry in Cincinnati for the coming months.