I mentioned a bit ago that wide receiver Donte' Stallworth hopes to return from an extended absence this Sunday against the Dolphins.
He's not alone.
Linebacker Tavares Gooden, who has been out since suffering a shoulder injury in the Ravens' Week 2 loss to the Bengals, says he is progressing well in his rehab and is hopeful he can play against Miami this weekend.
"It's all up to the coaching staff, coach [John] Harbaugh," Gooden said yesterday. "He kept asking me how I felt today. He knows, he knows I'm a competitor, man. That's the toughest thing I think as a head coach, because he knows the type of people he drafted. And he's like, 'This dude's crazy. I know he'll go out there with a finger hanging off.'
"I've played with certain stuff since I've been in the league, with my groin and all that stuff. He knows I'm a competitor, man. I'll leave it up to the staff. I think they'll make a great decision. I'm hoping I get to [play], because it's the hometown. It's the Miami Dolphins. I wouldn't mind playing against my hometown team."
After spending over a month rehabbing and watching from the sidelines, Gooden returned to practice two weeks ago and then had the bye week off.
He says instead of using the time off to rest, he spent his bye week back home in Miami continuing to build up strength in his left shoulder.
"I was still doing my same exercises, because that's what you've got to do," Gooden said. "You've got to stay on top of the little injuries so that they don't grow and also get stronger so you don't get injured doing certain stuff coming back. I was just trying to get back in football shape."
Now, Gooden will just have to see if he's in good enough football shape to be able to play this weekend.
He hasn't experienced full contact since suffering the injury, but he doesn't anticipate that being a hurdle he needs to overcome.
"Contact is contact. That's just football," Gooden says. "I went out there and dressed today, felt pretty good, but my coaches can assess and see where I need to be as far as how I used to be. I can't tell. [Linebackers coach] Dean Pees will know when I go into meetings and Bill T. [Tessendorf, head trainer] and the training staff will let me know, they'll say, 'You've got to stop favoring this,' or, 'You look pretty good.' So, I don't know.
"I gave it a shot today. I think all the general soreness is gone. I'm strapped up and there was no slipping and sliding [with the shoulder], so today was productive."