Former Jacksonville State tight end Gavin Ellis is used to having his patience tested.

He had to wait until the JSU’s last game of the year against Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs to make his lone touchdown catch of 2013. After undergoing shoulder surgery April 15 to repair a torn labrum, he has to wait until doctors release him July 15 before he can sign with an NFL team.

“As of now, July 15 is when I plan on getting cleared,” Ellis said. “Both the Tampa Bay (Buccaneers) and the Kansas City Chiefs are wanting to bring me in whenever I get released.”

A 6-foot-6, 250-pounder, Ellis suffered his torn labrum in the second round of the FCS playoffs against McNeese State. Thinking it was just a sprain, he finished the game. The shoulder continued to bother him even after the season ended, so he went to have it examined. In February, his doctor informed him he would need surgery.

“I was pass blocking and a defender came off the edge,” he said. “I had my arm out, and he ran into it. My shoulder popped out, but it popped back in real quick. It hurt but I was able to finish the game.”

Doctors used four anchors to repair the tear. They also cleaned out some bone spurs from his AC Joint. Such a surgery typically comes with a four-month recovery period.

Ellis does his rehabilitation in Oxford and his training at JSU. He said his shoulder is coming along a lot quicker than he thought. Even so, he wishes the process would move along a little faster as he must remember not to put too much of a strain on his shoulder.

“Sometimes I want to get under the bench and throw up 225 pounds and go ahead and just get strong,” he said. “I have to take it slow, little steps at a time. I’m having a hard time not jumping right in to it like I used to.”

His patience was rewarded with a game-tying touchdown against Eastern Washington. If history holds true, he will be rewarded for it once again.

“Right now, I’m just staying in shape,” he said. “Hopefully, come July 15, I’ll be ready to roll.”