Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis spoke to the local media Tuesday afternoon for the first time since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in June and reported that he is getting close to returning to his job.
Weis, who suffered complications that forced him into intensive care for two weeks, has been watching tapes of practice at home and joined the coaches Saturday afternoon and Monday night at Bryant College to prepare for his return.
Weis is still experiencing numbness in his feet which is preventing him from walking. But he reported his energy level is almost back to normal and he's eager to return. In fact, his biggest concern currently is being "a distraction for the Patriots" as they continue training camp.
"Fortunately my mind is good," Weis said. "The fog cleared up around the first week of July. That was the first thing that came back. Then my energy level started to get back up. The only problem I have now is the myopathy that developed in both of my feet. But the last thing I wanted was to be a distraction. I want to apologize to the Patriots organization for becoming a distraction."
When the news of Weis' situation became public, there was speculation that he underwent the surgery in an effort to get a head coaching job. The 46-year-old Weis claims that was not the case. He explained that he spoke with six doctors and all encouraged him to have the surgery.
Weis opted for the permanent bypass procedure, which was performed athroscopically at Mass. General Hospital, but when he suffered 48 hours of internal bleeding he was sent back to surgery and was operated on again.
"I don't want to say [the surgery being driven by the desire to become a head coach] is a misnomer," Weis said. "Appearances definitely come into play. I would like to envision myself as a head coach but this was not an elective procedure. It was something that was covered by insurance that needed to be done. The priority was to get healthy."
While his desire to one day become a head coach was not motivation for his decision, Weis, who weighed more than 300 pounds before the surgery, admitted his health was the sole reason. His father died at 56 after suffering two heart attacks and liver damage caused by diabetes. Weis came to the conclusion he was going to choose a different path.
Despite his intentions, Weis said he would "absolutely not" have the surgery again if given the choice. "I'd done all the things that everyone would do," Weis said. "I'd tried Weight Watchers and every other diet known to man but it always ended up where I'd gain it all back. At some point, I said to myself, 'Charlie, wake up. It's time to do something.' This will be better for me and my family in the long run."
Weis said he's gotten many visits and phone calls from his quarterbacks and fellow coaches and feels Bill Belichick and the rest of the staff have done a good job of preparing the offense thus far in camp. He added that the numbness in his feet is subsiding and the burning sensation he now feels, although painful, is a sign that the nerves are coming back.
"I'm not going to let numb feet stop me from being a football coach," Weis said. "I'm just working on getting my energy level up so I can handle the 16-hour days again."
Hopefully those will begin soon.