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After injury-plagued season, Eric Stokes turning a corner in Packers OTAs

Eric Stokes
Posted at 9:58 AM, May 30, 2024

GREEN BAY — Adversity can be one of life’s greatest teachers.

While Eric Stokes missed most of the 2023 season due to a nagging hamstring injury, the Packers cornerback is choosing to have a half-glass-full mentality.

“Everybody’s got a little story," Stokes said Wednesday. "This just taught me so many lessons, taught me so many different little things."

Stokes started the 2023 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He was activated in October but was placed on injured reserve shortly after with a hamstring injury.

In total, Stokes appeared in three games last season with two starts.

Eager to turn a corner this offseason — along with wide receiver Christian Watson — Stokes traveled to UW-Madison to meet with hamstring specialists at Badger Athletic Performance. He learned that last year's injury may have been the result of his foot injury the season prior.

“My foot wasn’t as strong as it needed to be, so it put more pressure on my hamstring, my calf, and all that stuff," Stokes explained.

Stokes suffered a major foot injury against the Detroit Lions in November 2022, which surgically required a plate and two screws to be put in.

“He’s come out here in these OTAs and performed really well," cornerback Jaire Alexander said Wednesday. "He’s battled through a bunch of adversity as we know. Just for him to come out every day and just work to get better, that’s a blessing in itself, so I’m proud of him.”

After his trip to UW-Madison this spring, the 2021 first-round draft pick spent the remainder of the offseason in Atlanta preparing for OTAs.

"Every day we were doing calf raises," he shared. "We were doing hamstring stuff. We were just attacking my legs, and all that stuff day in and day out."

While the Packers denied Stokes' fifth-year option earlier this month, head coach Matt LaFleur has continued to sing his praises during the first two weeks of OTAs.

“I think he is as good as I’ve ever seen him — both mentally and on the field," LaFleur said Wednesday. "He looks fully healthy. He’s doing a great job of challenging our wide receivers."

Stokes echoed LaFleur's statement telling reporters he feels better than ever before.

"This is a new Eric," he smiled.

Stokes is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Green Bay Packers.