Raekwon McMillan, a former second-round draft choice in 2017, was expected to have an outstanding rookie season, until a devastating ACL injury in a preseason contest versus Atlanta terminated those chances. Prior to the injury, McMillan was slated to become Miami’s starting strongside linebacker, due to Koa Misi retiring after sustaining a career-threatening neck injury.
One year later, McMillan’s life turned around.
In Adam Gase’s final season as head coach, McMillan was healthy, and received the starting middle linebacker job for the regular season, alongside outside linebackers Kiko Alonso and Ohio State teammate Jerome Baker. McMillan, in 2018, started all 16 games, producing 69 solo tackles and two forced fumbles.
“Last year coming off the injury it was really tough,” McMillan said during an appearance on The Audible. “I was trying to get a feel for the game and come off the injury at the same time, but this offseason I did a great job of doing more rehab and coming in and making sure that every muscle in my right leg was just as strong as the left leg.”
McMillan spent the entire 2017 season on the injured reserve list, but his presence was well felt in 2018. McMillan finished second on the team in total tackles with 105, only behind veteran Kiko Alonso. McMillan and his new teammates have been getting their first work experience this week, with new head coach Brian Flores and his staff.
One notable name on Flores’ staff includes defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who replaced Matt Burke.
“Coach Flo, he came in and gave us this speech, he came in and just implemented the things that he would tolerate and things that he would not tolerate as a head coach,” McMillan said. “Coach Graham is a very energetic guy. He came in and basically did the same thing Coach Flo did and gave us his expectations as a defense. You can tell he’s real loose as a coach.”
Although McMillan is now working with a new group of coaches, the former Ohio State product is excited to be playing with Kiko Alonso and college teammate Jerome Baker in 2019.
This story was written by Brandon Liguori. Follow him on Twitter: @BrandonRLiguori
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