Monte Ball is trying desperately to put the attack that left him in the hospital with a concussion and a bruised jaw behind him.
In his first media interview since the attack more than a week ago, Ball said he was limited in what he could talk about regarding his attack, but stressed it was unprovoked and that he was eager to put it behind him.
"There's not really much I can tell you because there's a police investigation going on, so I'm kind of limited," Ball said. "But what I can tell you that it was the night before camp started, went out with a few friends and we weren't getting rowdy or anything. I was just heading back to my place a block away and I was attacked. That's all I remember.
"Of course [I was scared]. Blacking out and then waking up in the hospital, getting asked a few questions. But basically, I'm looking at it now as I'm just blessed, very blessed, because obviously, it could have been a lot worse."
In the wee hours of Aug. 1, Ball was walking near his apartment when five men jumped him. He was knocked to the ground and kicked before teammates intervened and got him help. He was in the hospital for a few hours and released.
From the beginning, Ball, Wisconsin and even the police report maintained the attack was a random event. But a couple days later, police said they were looking at an incident — a fight between Ball and a non-football player - that may have provoked the attack on Ball. However, police determined there was no evidence that the attack on Ball was provoked.
Ball said Sunday that the incident showed just how scrutinized his life is and he said he felt like people were trying to bring him down by incorrectly stating the facts of the story.
"It really shows me how much I really do live my life in a fishbowl and how big of a microscope that's on top of me basically," Ball said. "Everyone's watching to see what I do as soon as I step out my apartment. It's a learning experience. You live and you learn and I most definitely am going to count my blessings and thank the Lord that I only had a bruised jaw.
"It's difficult because there's not much I can say because there's a police investigation going on, but I just don't like people attacking me. It's something that I have to deal with, something that we all have to deal with because there's going to be a lot of people out that are not going to like what you're doing."
After a week of dealing with the effects of the concussion, Ball returned to practice Monday. He will, however, be in a green jersey (which means he can't be hit) as he continues to get healthy. He said he didn't know how long he'd be non-contact.
Ball said last week he addressed his teammates to make sure the stories about him weren't affecting his leadership or the way his team perceived him. He said he didn't apologize for being out that night, but did apologize for the negative attention its drawn to him and subsequently the team.
"It was very difficult coming back, but all my teammates understand the situation I was in," Ball said. "It was completely unprovoked and I had nothing to do with anything, so for that to happen… I made sure to address the team and basically apologize for the distraction, but they all know who I am and what I'm here for.
"I want to talk about this. I want to put it on the backburner and just forget about it because I'm perfectly healthy right now, ready to go and I can tell that our teammates are ready to go, too and ready to just forget about talking about it."