Late For Work 6/14: Kindle Says He’s Cleared To Play

Plus assistant coaches all receive contract extensions, and any regret in Clayton trade?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at 9:22 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Kindle Says He’s Cleared To Play

Pass-rush help could be on the way.

The Ravens’ top 2010 draft pick Sergio Kindle declared he has been cleared to play after fracturing his skull from falling down stairs at a friend’s home last summer.

I got cleared to play again in March,” Kindle told Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News.  “So I have to get back into it and see how it goes from there.  Of course, I got cleared, but until I actually do contact, that’s what’s going to determine [my progress].”

While Kindle said he is fully healed, he is awaiting the end of the lockout to truly test the affects contact will have on his body.

The 23 year old has suffered some long-lasting effects from the injury.

“I had a skull fracture and some brain bruising,” Kindle said.  “Basically, I messed up my equilibrium.  I can hardly hear out of [my left] ear any more.  The doctor said it was unlikely it will come back.  But it’s been a while, so I’ve gotten used to it.  I’m [100 percent] now.  I’ve been [lifting weights] since I got to Baltimore.    

“Now I’m actually training, football training, without the contact.  Now I just have to wait and see whatever the lockout does so I can give it a shot.”

Coincidentally, prior to Kindle’s news breaking last night, ESPN’s James Walker wrote that the biggest cause for concern for the Ravens this season is the lack of a pass rush, noting the defense only generated 27 sacks in 16 games in 2010.

“The Ravens believe they can improve those numbers schematically, but I think an upgrade in personnel is needed,” wrote Walker. “No one on the roster outside of Suggs specializes in getting to the quarterback.”

That is, except for Kindle.

The Ravens didn’t draft a pass rusher in April’s draft, and officials have remained optimistic about Kindle’s ability to get back on the field and contribute to the defense. After signing a one-year contract reportedly prorated to $320,000 last year, Kindle was retained for next season with an exclusive-rights tender.

But exactly what Kindle can bring to the field is unknown. Once the lockout ends, expect the trainers and doctors to take Kindle through a cautious process of implementing contact and monitoring how he responds.

Ravens Assistant Coaches Receive Contract Extensions

Good news for the Ravens assistant coaches … and maybe some good news for football in general.

The Ravens extended their assistant coaches’ contracts
through the 2012 season, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer.

It’s been expected the team would offer these contracts ever since John Harbaugh received his three-year extension in January, but Breer reports the team held off on doing so because of the lockout.

Considering the team moved forward despite the continued labor stoppage, the timing of these contracts turns out to be an interesting note. Feeling comfortable enough to take care of the assistants now could be an indication that the labor standoff is near an end.

“We’d love to see this as a sign of confidence in the lockout ending soon,” wrote ProFootballTalk’s Gregg Rosenthal. ”The Ravens held off on doing the deals pre-lockout, and perhaps owner Steve Biscotti felt better about making the deals now.

“Of course, it’s just as possible the team saw this as one of the few items of business they could get out of the way before an onslaught of action that will happen when the lockout ends.”

Ravens Regret Releasing Clayton?

Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson examined and ranked the AFC North wide receiver corps, putting the Ravens at No. 3 behind the Steelers and the Bengals.

Below is Williamson’s breakdown of the Ravens’ receivers, but before we get to that, I thought he offered an interesting take on some of the free-agent moves from last offseason.

After T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth were added to the roster, Williamson said “neither veteran was very impressive last year.”

He added, “Releasing Mark Clayton was a move the Ravens surely regret.”

The Ravens held Clayton in high regard and it was tough to let him go from a relationship standpoint, but “regret” seems like a stretch.

Part of what hindered Clayton from consistently reaching his potential was his struggle with injuries, which had stung the team in the past. And then, just a few weeks after trading Clayton to the Rams, the receiver suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Here’s the rest of the receiver breakdown:

Anquan Boldin:
“[His] 64 catches for the 2010 season was the second-lowest number of his career.  … Still, I tend to think we will see more from Boldin next season. He is too good of a player for a repeat performance.”

Derrick Mason:
“At age 37, Mason is extremely trustworthy and a superior route-runner. He is still very effective. He catches everything thrown near him, and Flacco has the utmost trust in him. But Mason and Boldin are too similar.”

Torrey Smith:
“Second-round pick Torrey Smith is a burner on the perimeter, a quality this offense was really lacking. With Flacco’s huge arm, taking shots deep downfield is a must.”

Tandon Doss:
“Not a quick-twitch athlete, Doss is more of a possession guy than Smith. He has great hands and is good in traffic. He has a long body type and should be able to ease into the game at this level after having durability issues in college.”

David Reed:
“He had very little opportunity to show what he could do on offense last season. But Reed was excellent on special teams, particularly on kickoff coverage. He is a very good tackler.

James Hardy, Brandon Jones, Marcus Smith and Justin Harper:
[They] have a fair amount of ability among them. They just haven’t translated it to the field. But Baltimore is now pretty deep at wide receiver, and without offseason minicamps to show their stuff, it will be an uphill climb.

 Quick Hits

  • Longtime Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf, who retired last month, was recognized by the Ed Block Foundation as part of its sponsor appreciation kickoff dinner. The foundation was named after the longtime head trainer of the Baltimore Colts, so Tessendorf felt especially honored. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Another underrated Raven? Walker says kicker Sam Koch flies under the radar: “Baltimore’s kicking game was arguably the NFL’s best last season, and half of that was due to Koch’s punting.” [ESPN]
  • 8Harp2: When I started to be interested in football receivers like Charles Rogers and Plaxico where guys that made me tune in…Good Luck Plax!! [Twitter]
  • TorreySmithWR: Up in pa….just did a boxing workout with Henry Racich and I was hurting..I have alot of respect for boxers [Twitter]
  • 1WinningDrive: Want to sing the National Anthem at M&T Bank Stadium? Enter your video & vote here by this Friday [Twitter]

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