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Brooks' return could bolster Ravens secondary

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Brooks' return could bolster Ravens secondary

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.”

 

 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.

The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.

“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”

Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.

“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”

Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.

The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.

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