Kevin Dotson was a four-year starter for the Ragin’ Cajuns from his redshirt freshman. He played every single game of his college career, and developed himself into a worker and a no-nonsense guy. He would play through pain without problem when the decision was left up to him. Unfortunately for him, he would have a decent amount of pain during his rookie year.
The fourth-round pick had an injury scare early on, suffering a knee injury in training camp, but he returned from that probably quicker than many expected, and in fact he was actually pressed into action as early as the first game of the season after Stefen Wisniewski was injured. He started a week later while David DeCastro remained out.
Later on, he would also miss time after contracting Covid-19, which he acknowledged to reporters on Thursday was a bit of a trial for him in terms of dealing with symptoms—and boredom as well. More recently, he suffered a shoulder injury against the Buffalo Bills that caused him to miss the following game.
“For me, it’s weird, just because how I was raised is to not sit out”, he said. “I’m not gonna sit out a game if I could possibly do something. I really wanted to stay in the Buffalo game, but at the same time, you kind of have to start thinking more about your future when you get in the NFL”.
It’s not easy for an offensive lineman to escape an entire season without injury, or a notable injury, anyway. Everybody who plays long enough is going to get battered and bruised here and there just over the course of doing their job.
But when it comes to the business of the NFL, Dotson understands that the equations change for both sides, and there are circumstances under which it is not advantageous for other side for a player to try to play through an injury.
“They kind of said it was a smart decision for me to get out of that game”, he said. “But I like to be able to come back fast, so I do everything I can recovery-wise to get back, and then when I come back, trying to prove myself, that I’m still here, I still belong here, just to make sure that y’all understand that I’m here”.
One thing the young man hasn’t ever shown a lack of is confidence, but he has also expressed humility when assessing his own play and how much room he has left for improvement. He believes in himself and his ability to hold his own, but he will likely never be satisfied with his play, which tends to be a trait of the great ones.