It's been a year to forget for Ravens rookie outside linebacker Sergio Kindle.
Kindle fractured his skull after falling down two flights of stairs back in July, which landed him on the non-football injury list and ended his season. Then, two and a half weeks ago, Kindle was arrested for driving under the influence.
In the Ravens' locker room today, Kindle said that he hopes that the team will still be interested in retaining him as an exclusive rights free agent and having him back next season.
"They haven't told me they wouldn't bring me back," Kindle said.
Regarding his DUI situation, Kindle will need to go through both the legal process and the NFL disciplinary process this offseason. He registered a 0.17 blood-alcohol level, over twice the Maryland legal limit of 0.08 when he was pulled over at 4 a.m. back on Dec. 26.
He has been assigned a March 5 court date in Howard County, and will certainly face some sort of punishment from the league for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
"I'm just continuing to do what I need to do to get healthy and let [commissioner] Roger Goodell and the NFL and the legal issues handle themselves and we'll see from there," Kindle said.
Kindle's health has slowly been improving as he works back from the fractured skull, and he's started to take part in individual drills. He's not allowed to participate in any team workouts, but can lift with the team and sit in on meetings.
The Ravens' top draft pick this year will have his rehab interrupted a bit this offseason. Because there is no collective bargaining agreement in place for next year as of yet, players won't be allowed to train at their team complexes due to medical insurance issues. That means Kindle will need to relocate back to Texas as he continues to try and get back in football shape.
"I'm getting my rehab set up so I can continue to do that once the season is over back in Dallas," Kindle said. "I'm trying to set it up where I can train in Dallas at the place I did before the combine."
The University of Texas product had a number of off-field issues even before the Ravens drafted him, including a separate DUI and an accident where he drove his car into an apartment complex while texting.
Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged recently that Kindle is developing a track record for making poor decisions, but still expressed a level of confidence in the rookie.
"He's not off to a good start through college or the NFL right now," Harbaugh said. "But he's a good person. He's got a good heart, I believe, and I think he's fully capable of achieving all of his goals. It's on his shoulders, right? He's the one who's got to make those choices."
For now, Kindle will continue to rehab, hope for the best for next season, and root for his teammates as they advance in the playoffs.
"Regardless of if I'm playing or not, I'm still a part of the team and I want all the guys to know that," Kindle said. "And I'm pretty sure they already do."