ATHENS, Ga. --- A month after he was knocked unconscious, Georgia's Baccari Rambo returned to full-contact practices for the first time Wednesday and Thursday.
After the Bulldogs' Nov. 14 win over Auburn, Rambo was held overnight in an Athens hospital with what turned out to be a concussion.
"At first, I was kind of scared of contact because I didn't know what was going to happen," Rambo said Thursday. "After these two days of practice, I've started to make contact and I haven't had any problems with my head, so I felt very comfortable getting back to the feeling of playing and the speed of the game."
Rambo, who expects to play in the Independence Bowl against Texas A&M on Dec. 28, has watched replays of his jarring hit on Mario Fannin near the Georgia goal line with 1:16 remaining in the 31-24 win.
"I don't remember none of that happening, the play where I knocked myself out," Rambo said.
He doesn't remember the Sanford Stadium crowd chanting his name during the nearly 12 minutes between the end of the play and when he was carted off the field.
"When I was down on the field, it was like I was deaf, paralyzed and blind," Rambo said. "I couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't hear nothing, I couldn't move."
Rambo remembers only waking up after a CAT scan at St. Mary's Hospital.
"That's when I really came back to myself and everybody was telling me I was talking to them, but I couldn't remember what I was saying," Rambo said.
"They said I kept asking about the score of the game."
Rambo said he can remember other details of that night. He thinks a collision with safety Reshad Jones at midfield earlier in the fourth quarter is when things first didn't feel right.
"I was out of it then, but I didn't want to come out (of the game)," Rambo said. "That kind of slowed me up, had my head messed up a little bit."
There was an outpouring of support for Rambo from Bulldogs fans.
"That Sunday morning when I woke up, I looked at my phone, I had like probably 150 (Facebook) friend requests, like 50 (e-mail messages in my) inbox. It was crazy," he said. "I had like 30 or 40 missed calls. It was crazy. Everybody was trying to see how I was doing. They were praying for me and stuff and I was just thankful for all that."
His teammates who were worried about Rambo during the scary moment against Auburn are glad to have him back on the practice field this week.
"He's made a couple of good licks," safety Bryan Evans said. "As soon as he got up, everybody asked him do you remember what he just did? It's all fun and games, but it's good to see him back out there. I know he's excited about playing in the bowl because he missed the last two games."
Rambo, a redshirt freshman from Donalsonville, Ga., made 21 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups in 10 games.
"I think he's going to be the man," defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. "He's good. He's talented. ... I think he's going to be a great player."
Reach Marc Weiszer at firstname.lastname@example.org.