Ravens second-year safety Terrence Brooks said he is easing his way back onto the field, but the fact that he's on the field at all is a good sign for the Ravens.
Brooks returned to practice this week, officially leaving the physically-unable-to-perform list as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL suffered late last season.
"We’re not trying to just go ahead and throw me in there full-go and get a setback or anything like that, God forbid," Brooks said earlier this week. "We’re just going to take it easy, increase my reps day by day and see how it goes.”
Brooks figures to take on a backup role behind Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill, but his return could bolster a safety group that has lost Matt Elam (torn biceps) for at least much of the season. The Ravens backup safeties include Brynden Trawick and Anthony Levine, neither of whom looked particularly good in the preseason opener, and undrafted rookie Nick Perry.
Veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington saw time as the free safety as well against the Saints in the preseason opener, perhaps an indication that the Ravens are still searching for options at the back end of their defense.
A healthy Brooks should be one.
Brooks, a third-round pick out of Florida State, finished with 19 tackles and two passes defensed last season, but he had his struggles as well. Most notably, in the regular-season game against the Saints, Brooks patiently waited in the end zone for a ball that appeared to be headed right to him ... until Marquis Colston cut in front of him and caught it for a touchdown.
His playing time dwindled after that, and then he suffered the season-ending knee injury against the Jaguars.
Brooks took part in some OTA workouts but began the preseason on the PUP list. Now he is back with a renewed focus and appreciation for his career.
"I put in my mind that, ‘Hey, I’m going to come back and be even stronger than I was before,' " he said. "Plus, I had some stuff last year that I definitely didn’t like, and that (was) not in my game plan. This year, I just have a whole, totally different mind-set. The knee injury I feel like was a blessing for me. It was a wakeup call, like, ‘Hey, get yourself going. Take it seriously. This is your job now,’ and I realize that this year.”