After nine months of waiting and countless hours of rehab, Lardarius Webb was back on a football field on Sunday for the first time since tearing his ACL last December.
The end result - a 15-10 loss to the Bengals - wasn't what Webb or the Ravens would have hoped for, but the game was significant for the second-year cornerback, who got to make his 2010 debut after missing all of OTAs and training camp as he worked back from his knee surgery.
"It feels terrific," Webb said. "I'm just happy to be out there with the guys, running around. It just feels good to be out there, man."
Webb didn't start against Cincinnati, but worked in during nickel packages and spent time covering Bengals wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
It was thoughts of those kinds of matchups, against Pro Bowl wide receivers, which kept Webb working hard throughout his rehab.
"I put a lot of work in to get back to the field, a lot of time, but it was well worth it," Webb said. "I put the work in to get something that I wanted, which was to get back to this field. I haven't made my comeback all the way yet, but I'm working my way in it and it's feeling good."
Webb says while he's feeling good and healthy, he's not sure that he'll ever return to the form that he showed in his rookie season, when he delivered performances which had coaches believing they had discovered a top-notch cornerback.
The Nicholls State product will continue to work the knee and ease back into game action, but he knows the long-term impact that serious knee surgery can have.
"I'm still putting work in," he says. "I don't know, I'll probably never be back the same, but I'm always going to keep working to get back to where I thought I was."