Despite the threat of labors talks holding up the 2011 NFL season, various players around the NFL have taken their few weeks off and the ones not involved in the decision-making process when it comes to labor negotiation are now back at work preparing for next season should it occur on time.
And for a guy like Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle, who missed the entire 2010 season with a head injury suffered at the start of Ravens training camp due to a fall in a friends’ Texas home-missing another season just isn’t an option for him.
Kindle has made a lot of mistakes so far off the field in both his collegiate and pro-football careers-most of them attributed to alcohol.
He has been stopped several times for driving while intoxicated-most recently the day after Christmas of last year.
This was after being arrested for a similar incident in 2007 while enrolled at the University of Texas. He along with a teammate were suspended for three games that season by coach Mack Brown and forced to perform community service.
In 2009, he drove his car into an apartment building and left the scene. The incident was attributed to him texting while driving.
But Kindle-a former five-star prospect and All-American linebacker for Texas-had all the potential in the world coming into the 2010 NFL Draft, prompting the Ravens to put aside his transgressions as they choose him as their first-draft pick with the 43rd selection.
But because of his accident in Texas in July, he hasn’t seen the football field since and doubts have even become to rise about his ability to play the game again.
But, the Ravens needed to sign him to retain his rights, forcing Baltimore to sign him to the one-year, league-minimum, pro-rated salary of one year, 320,000.
He was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, which barred him from participating in football activities.
Kindle appeared to the media several times through the season and could be seen working out at the facility on occasion . At times, he appeared slow and looked as if the head injury sustained by Kindle would be too dire for him to return to his normal state of being-let alone sack a quarterback at break-neck speed.
But Kindle joined “The Mobtown Sports Beat” this week and told Thyrl Nelson that he feels better every day and that he is currently working out at the Michael Johnson Performance Center-ran by the former Olympic sprinter-in Texas at trying to get as best he can in football shape.
“At the end of the day the final decision is up to the doctors who are going to clear me,” Kindle told Nelson. “Everything is looking towards that now.”
Kindle said being on the sidelines this year just being forced to watch football instead of participating in it has maybe been the hardest punishment or piece of adversity he has had to face.
“Being a team player is a good thing,” Kindle said,” but I’ll tell you what…it’s not a good feeling sitting on the sidelines watching your teammates play the game you love as much as they do.”
Kindle witnessed his teammates-guys like Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs-fight it out this season against teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he feels like he could have made an impact if he was suited up and out on the field of play for the Ravens.
“It’s my job to help Suggs out,” Kindle said. “That’s what I plan to do, so continue to look forward for some good things from me.”
And while he has taken on the role of head cheerleader, his teammates have thrown just as much support back at him when it comes to his recovery.
“I’d have to give that to all my teammates and coaches. They’ve been supportive. Nothing but one-hundred percent behind me on everything and you know those guys are pulling for me to be back this year.”
But everyone knows it won’t be their decision. It will be on the doctors to sign off for Kindle to restart football activities, on the player personnel department to resign him, and ultimately on Kindle himself to guarantee he won’t be as much of a headache to the Ravens as much as his incidents have given him physically.
“You don’t realize how much you love football until it’s taken away from you,” Kindle replied. “That’s the learning point right there. I definitely learned from it and I’m going to continue learning from it and grow from it on a daily basis.”
WNST is wishing Kindle all the best when it comes to his recovery and we hope to see him in a Ravens uniform come the start of the 2011 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!