Mark Ingram says knee is '100 percent'
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Mark Ingram enters the NFL draft armed with a Heisman Trophy, a national title and the cover of a popular video game.
The former Alabama running back and 2009 Heisman winner says he'll also bring two healthy knees.
Ingram said Tuesday reports that NFL teams are concerned about his surgically repaired left knee are based on "false information" with the draft looming on April 28-30.
I hear about [draft projections] all the time, but nobody really knows. I'm just going to wait until I hear my name called.” -- Mark Ingram on draft projections
"I don't know where the reports have come from," he said in a phone interview following an announcement that he'll be on the cover of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12. "I guess somebody wants me to fall down the board. But my knee is 100 percent. It's strong, it's healthy. All the teams have positive reports on my knee and Dr. [James] Andrews has given positive reports on my knee as well. My knee's 100 percent. It's in great shape. All those reports are false information."
Ingram had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Aug. 31, but missed only the first two games. He is generally projected as a late first-round pick, though that's a drop from his initial mid-first round status.
Ingram said he has worked out for the Miami Dolphins, who pick 15th. He has also visited the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints -- with picks ranging from 10th to 24th.
Ingram said he had to ice and rehab the knee during the season but after the bye week in late October, "it felt like it was full-strength, so I finished the second part of the year strong."
He ran for 875 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. As a sophomore, he had 1,658 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to the national title.
Talk about his knee hasn't been the only thing Ingram has had to contend with leading up to the draft.
He also fired agent Rocky Arceneaux and hired Joel Segal.
"Just a business decision," Ingram said. "No hard feelings. I just thought it was best for me to go in a different direction."
Neither of those things marred his day Tuesday.
2011 NFL Draft
"It's a tremendous honor," Ingram said. "It's a game I've been playing since middle school all through high school and even in college. Just the fact that I have a chance to be on the cover of a game is a blessing and something that I'll cherish for the rest of my life."
The cover photo is of Ingram carrying the ball with his gloved left hand extended palm-out flashing a crimson "A."
"I couldn't have drawn it up any better," he said. "I think they did a great job with the cover. It's awesome."
A skilled bowler and golfer, Ingram said he's pretty good at NCAA Football too. "I'm taking all challengers," he joked.
Ingram will have his picture in numerous game-playing households once that edition is released July 12, but he's getting some exposure before then, too. He spent much of Tuesday appearing on SportsCenter and other ESPN shows.
"He's on our Facebook page, he's going to be on displays at Best Buy and Walmart and Gamestop," said Randy Chase, EA Sports' senior marketing manager. "He's going to be all over the place in retail until the game comes out."
As for draft day, Ingram said he has no feel whatsoever for where he'll wind up.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay praises Ingram's talents but said picking a player in the top half of the first round at a position with a relatively short shelf life "makes you nervous."
"I like Mark Ingram a lot, and I think he has a chance to be a very good back for the NFL," McShay said. "I love his instincts, I love his lateral quickness in small areas for a somewhat bigger back and the way he gets guys offbalance, and just generates a lot of yards after contact."
Ingram said he'll have to wait until next week's draft to see how teams -- or at least one team -- feel about him, just like everybody else.
"I hear about [draft projections] all the time, but nobody really knows," he said. "I'm just going to wait until I hear my name called."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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