The injury cost him 10 games, and a chance to play for the Fighting Irish in the National Championship Game against the University of Alabama.
“The first play of the second half, I was literally just backpedaling, and I planted on my left leg to move forward, and I just felt something like a pop,” Slaughter said. “I went straight to the ground. I thought I twisted my ankle, and when the trainers came over to look at it, they told me that I tore my Achilles, and I was just heartbroken because I knew I was going to be out for the rest of the season. It’s just something that comes along with the game. You’ve got to pick up from where you left off.
“It was tough to deal with, just for the simple fact that we were coming back to glory, and I kind of felt like I wasn’t a part of it. Deep down, I want to be out on the field with my teammates on every play. It was a humbling process. It taught me a lot about myself. I was able to help my teammates and players mentally through this whole process. I feel like things are going to be okay. People saw what I did in college, so it’s really a blessing.”
Since that time, Slaughter has focused on rehabbing his injury, and getting himself ready to participate in an NFL training camp in July.
“With my injury, I’m about 90 percent now,” Slaughter said. “I’m able to do sprinting, cutting, and I’ve been doing bag drills, pretty much everything, position drills. It’s all coming back into line. The main thing for me now is getting my power and explosion back. I’ve been doing that by doing some single-leg weights and workouts. It’s coming along pretty well, and I think I should be ready, 100 percent, by training camp.
“I’ve been working hard this whole time to get back into playing shape, and I think by the time training camp starts, I will be in the competition. I’ve just got a competitive mind. I always want to be first.”
Slaughter said he was “excited to be a Cleveland Brown,” and bring his reputation as a big hitter to the Browns’ secondary.
“I think I fit as a free safety,” Slaughter said. “I’ve played various positions in college. I played strong safety, free safety. I came in as a corner. I play nickel and dime in our sub-packages. Wherever I fit for the Cleveland Browns, I’m excited to be a part of the team. Wherever they feel I can help the team, I’m glad to be wherever they put me.
“I was always a skinny kid, and I was just known for being the skinny kid that could hit. I was the first person to knock the quarterback’s helmet off in the 90-pound league. I have a laid-back, cool, collective side to me, but on the field, I can be my alter-ego and be another person. I just feel like I’m a warrior out there, and I kind of play like that.”