ARLINGTON, Texas — As he paraded across the turf at AT&T Stadium for Big 12 Media Days in his emerald green suit and pineapple socks, Terrell Bernard gave no indication his shoulder was in any pain.
"I am 100 percent," Bernard said.
Bernard was forced to end the season early after injuring his shoulder in a game against Iowa State in November. He told the media he fought through the pain for the remainder of that game but knew once it was over he could not continue.
He was on pace to lead the Bears in tackles for the second straight season before the injury.
Doctors did not clear Bernard for full contact during spring practice, so he was forced to change his role from a tenacious tackler to a player-coach as he continued to learn Head Coach Dave Aranda and Defensive Coordinator Ron Roberts's scheme on defense.
"There was an understanding of what we were doing, but not to the level that he would be comfortable with," Aranda said. "So, if we get to where he's comfortable and can play fast, knowing where his help is, there's another level."
Bernard was cleared by doctors "a couple weeks" before he appeared at Big 12 Media Days. He said the time away has helped him prepare.
"Once I got cleared, I was basically in the offseason," Bernard said. "So, I've transitioned my body and conditioned my body to be in the best shape I've been in in a long time."
Bernard was named to the Bednarik Award preseason Watch List. The award is given to the nation's top player on defense.