Having signed his rookie contract, Sergio Kindle was back at Ravens headquarters today for the first time since the end of minicamps back in June.
The Ravens' second-round pick will miss the entire 2010 season after suffering a fractured skull when he fell down two flights of stairs in late-July, but there was no disappointment in his voice when he met with reporters today.
Kindle is clearly happy to be in good health, and seems thrilled to be back with his teammates and a part of football activities again.
"I let the guys know how excited I was and I told them since I won't be playing this year that I'll be the biggest cheerleader they've got," Kindle said. "It feels good to be back and let everybody see my face once again. It's good to be around the team and root my guys on to another victory."
Now that Kindle has signed his contract, he is allowed to rehab at the Ravens' facilities, take part in individual football drills and sit in on team meetings.
"I'll be doing everything they allow me to do," Kindle said. "If they want me to be ballboy, let's do it. I'll be able to work out and hopefully be able to do footwork drills. No contact. I'll be in meetings taking notes if that's what they want."
Kindle talked about the circumstances surrounding his fall, which took place at a friend's house. The 23-year-old says he walked out of his room at night, and made a wrong turn when trying to find a bathroom.
"Basically, all I had to do was turn the lights on," Kindle said. "I'm trying to walk out the bathroom and I'm supposed to turn right and instead of turning right I went straight. All I had to do was turn the lights on and find my way. I'm basically blind and walked into a stairwell.
"This is a wakeup call for me. I've made poor decisions in my day, but I can honestly say this one happened for a reason. I'm glad it did because I learned from it and it opened my eyes to see things in a bigger picture than what I was. I'm a better person for it today."
While he would obviously prefer to be on the field on Sundays with his teammates, Kindle said that watching things from the sidelines and being around the team from a non-playing perspective will benefit him in the long run.
"Yeah, it will absolutely," he says. "Being able to see things and being in the meetings will help me going into next season. I'll be a little more seasoned next season."
When he spoke with Baltimore reporters on a conference call immediately after being drafted, Kindle said he planned on winning Rookie of the Year. Assuming he can play next year, he said that prediction will carry over to 2011.
"If I don't get on the field, I'm not a rookie," Kindle said with a smile. "When I do get on the field I'll be working towards that goal again."
While the Ravens hope that Kindle can return as early as next season, they've said it's possible that the Texas product may never play football again.
Kindle disagrees, saying there's a "150 percent" chance he plays again.
"In my opinion, I know for sure I'll be able to play again," he says.