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Lardarius Webb showed up for the Ravens offseason workouts Monday with a nice new contract and a hefty set of expectations.
But even with a new deal reportedly worth $50 million, Webb says he is approaching this offseason with the same mentality that helped him go from a third-round draft pick out of Nicholls State to the Ravens top cornerback.
“I want to be the best in the game and this money is not going to stop what I want to be,” Webb said.
Webb knows that the big deal comes with elevated expectations and he isn’t shying away from talking about what he hopes to accomplish.
“I want to be the No. 1 corner in the NFL and I have a lot of steps to get there because there are a lot of great corners above me right now,” Webb said.
Getting to the top of the game includes putting in the work during the offseason, which is part of the reason Webb is participating in the team’s voluntary conditioning program. Also, it’s his first opportunity to go through a full offseason because he tore his ACL during the 2009 season and then went through the lockout last year.
“I want to be a leader in this locker room,” Webb said. “It’s my first time, so I want to be part of it. Also, I want to show these guys that I’m here to work, too, that I’m trying to grind.”
A workman-like attitude has always been part of Webb’s game, as he overcame the injury and developed into a starter without having the cache of a top college prospect.
“I think God put me through those things to make me the player that I am today,” he said. “Trying to fight, fight, fight.”
Last season was Webb’s first as a full-time starter, and he jumped onto the scene with five interceptions, 20 passes defended and 68 tackles. He added three more interceptions in the playoffs and proved to be a valuable punt returner throughout the year.
He was the top cornerback of a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL (196.3 yards per game) against the pass.
As he prepares for the 2012 campaign, Webb says that he’s happy to have the contract negotiations behind him and is looking forward to his family enjoying the security the deal affords.
“It feels great,” he said. “The security part, that’s just what makes me feel like I can take care of my son. My son doesn’t have to worry about anything for the rest of his life.
“Basically, that’s the most important part. It was never about me. It was always about taking care of my family.”