Kicker Greg Zuerlein somewhat surprisingly showed up on the injury report this week with an ailing left foot.
While Zuerlein has never been expected to miss Super Bowl LIII, head coach Sean Mcvay did say that the kicker is progressing in his recovery.
"One day at a time, but he's feeling good," McVay said. "No setbacks with that, so all things are pointing in the right direction for us."
Earlier this week, special teams coordinator John Fassel revealed that Zuerlein hit a steel plate awkwardly in the Superdome's turf while warming up for the third quarter. Speaking to the media in the locker room following Saturday's practice, Zuerlein himself said he's feeling good about his plant foot.
"Yeah, hit something hard in the ground. Just warming up at halftime, landed on something that didn't give as much as turf and then that's when it started hurting," Zuerlein said. "But, hopefully, a few more days of treatment and it'll be good to go."
With the injury occurring at halftime, Zuerlein obviously was playing through some kind of pain in the second half when he nailed a 48-yard game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter, and then a 57-yard game-winning field goal in overtime. But how much pain?
"I don't really know. It hurt, but not enough to stop me from playing, obviously," Zuerlein said. "I guess that's really all I can tell you. It really wasn't anything special about it, just get the job done."
Zuerlein said he didn't tell Fassel about the injury because it wouldn't have accomplished anything in the moment. Fassel admitted earlier this week that maybe it was best he didn't know.
The 2012 sixth-round pick has been through the ringer when it comes to injuries over the last couple of years. Zuerlein played the first 14 games of 2017 before undergoing season-ending back surgery. The kicker nevertheless finished the season leading the league in points.
This year, Zuerlein played only 11 games, missing time with a groin injury. Still, Zuerlein connected on 27-of-31 field goals and 35-of-36 extra points.
"He's a great guy, but as soon as you cross the 50, you legitimately feel like you're in a position to come away with points," McVay said. "I just think his resolve, his mental toughness — watching the way that he handled being out earlier in the year and how he was so supportive of the guys that were in his role, I think demonstrated a security that exists on his part. But he's a really good, productive player. And he's been outstanding."
"But just how clutch he was last week, too," McVay continued "I mean, in that atmosphere to be able to kick two of those field goals with the distance but then also the crowd noise and different things — and he was unfazed by it. And we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."
As for being that reason, Zuerlein's been re-living that game-winning kick just like you probably have.
"Yeah, I'd lie to you if I said I don't think about it. I do think about it. It was a cool occurrence — something that you dream about from the time you're little. To be able to accomplish something like that was very cool," Zuerlein said. "But, obviously, that's in the past. So now it's Super Bowl week. We've got to prepare to play the Patriots and, hopefully, get a win."