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Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle didn’t see his first hit coming. He still doesn’t even know who it was.
But most importantly, he doesn’t still feel it.
Kindle got through his first full-contact practice without any ill-effects, almost exactly one year after he fractured his skull and derailed his rookie season by falling down a flight of stairs.
“No issues, no concerns, no pain or anything like that,” Kindle said. “It all felt good to me.”
Kindle Returns To The Field Right Click for Full Screen Option
Kindle’s first hit came early in practice while he was working on special teams. He was retreating during kickoff coverage and was supposed to turn, then engage as a blocker.
Kindle didn’t turn around fast enough, and the player caught him off-guard and cracked him right in the facemask.
“He stumbled me a little bit,” Kindle said with a smile. “But it didn’t feel like nothing.”
Kindle continued through the practice, taking many more shots and sticking his nose in the middle of goal-line situations and more. He mainly took snaps with the second-team defense, and ran well without showing any signs of fatigue or difficulty.
At one point last year, there were questions as to whether Kindle would ever be able to play again. Kindle said he never pondered that possibility. The only seemingly scary part is that doctors gave him precautions on what could happen if he were to make contact in a certain way.
“But I know all about it now. So, if it happens, maybe it was supposed to,” Kindle said. “I don’t see a reason to play football if you’re fearful. That’s not what it’s about.”
Kindle has been gradually getting his legs under him in his first few Ravens practices. He’s still pretty much a rookie and said he feels that way in regards to learning the playbook.
He’s also trying to learn hand signals since the hearing in his left ear is diminished. Kindle can hear sounds out of the ear but can’t make out what’s being said.
Still, there are expectations that Kindle can return to the pass-rushing force he was at the University of Texas.
Head Coach John Harbaugh envisions bringing him along the way the coaching staff did with Terrell Suggs in 2003, when they let Suggs be a rush specialist and he ended up winning Defensive Rookie of the Year with 12 sacks and six forced fumbles.
“I think you look at [Terrell] Suggs’ first year – not that I want to put pressure on him – if we can focus on the pass rush part primarily and then see what else he can do,” Harbaugh said. “That would be a big plus.”
Kindle was informed that fans have been asking about him, concerned about his health and recovery.
“Tell them,” then he paused for dramatic effect. “It’s about to happen.”