Raekwon McMillan opens up about his first season ending on first play

Raekwon McMillan is back at middle linebacker for Miami. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Raekwon McMillan was lost for the season with a knee injury sustained covering a punt on the first preseason play of his NFL career. One snap. And it was over.

“When I was on the ground I was sitting there like, ‘Wow,'” McMillan said Wednesday. “I had never been hurt. I jumped right back up and tried to run but it didn’t feel right. It was crazy. First time touching the field, period. And I was hurt.”

McMillan is ready to reclaim his spot as Miami’s starting middle linebacker.

“It feels good to be standing up again, in front of y’all,” McMillan said. “My knee feels good. I’m out there with no limitations, running around.”

McMillan said he has gotten advice about returning from a knee injury from teammates Frank Gore and Ryan Tannehill, with whom he rehabilitated.

“We got our surgery on the same exact day,” McMillan said. “We started rehab the same exact day. From day one, it was competition.”

McMillan is only 22 years old and has never played a linebacker snap in the NFL. But he is being counted on to make a big impact on the Dolphins’ defense. And to call all the plays.

“When they come to me as the middle linebacker I have to have the right answer,” McMillan said of his teammates. “It’s about knowing what to do. Leader isn’t just a title you get because you are the middle linebacker.”

McMillan said he’s not even thinking about his knee injury at this point.

“The hardest part is just getting back,” he said. “Baby steps. It was one step today and two steps the next day. It was hard at first. But then I kind of sucked it up and told myself I could let this year be a waste or prepare myself for next year.”

McMillan feels his injury happened for a reason. And that he has a better grasp on the defense than he would have had last season.

“I was still a rookie last year,” he said. “I was still being thrown into the water. Thrown into the fire. But I felt I could have done big things last year… I’m the Mike. I’m the guy in the middle. I’m the quarterback of the defense. And I’m trying to be a leader out there.”

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