NFL Wire News

Minicamp report: Ravens CB Smith back after foot surgery


The Sports Xchange

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Cornerback Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens sustained a Lisfranc left foot sprain against the Cincinnati Bengals that required surgery and ended his 2014 season after six games.

Although Smith hasn’t returned to full health, he has displayed speed and cover skills during the Ravens’ offseason practices.

“He has worked hard as far as the injury front this year,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Smith this week. “He is getting closer and closer to being 100 percent.

“He’s not there, yet, but nobody has worked harder than he has. He has been here every day since the season was over, so it probably starts that way in terms of leading by example.”

The Ravens signed Smith to a four-year, $48 million contract extension this offseason that included $21 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus.

Smith was having one of his best seasons before the injury, allowing only 20 receptions for 163 yards and no touchdowns while being targeted just 39 times, according to Pro Football Focus. He finished last season with 28 tackles, one interception and eight passes defensed.

Harbaugh singled out Smith as a leader this week.

“He has done it by working hard,” Harbaugh said. “He has done it by honing his craft and becoming the very best corner he can be. I love the way he pays attention to detail, but he has also done it by overcoming adversity.”

–For the past two years, veteran defensive end Chris Canty has lined up with the Ravens’ starting defense.

Since being cut after last season and later re-signed to a two-year, $4.65 million contract, Canty doesn’t envision his status being any different and expects to retain his starting job.

“I’ve been a starter in this league for a decade; I don’t really see that changing,” Canty said. “That’s what I foresee. Things change. It’s a very fluid situation, but that’s what I have in mind for my role being on this football team on our defensive unit.”

Canty could face competition for playing time from defensive end Brent Urban, who is returning this year after being sidelined for his entire rookie year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

They are expected to work in tandem, regardless of who is the primary starter.

Canty, 32, has run with the first-team defense this week during a minicamp that marks his first participation with the Ravens this offseason after missing three voluntary organized team activities.

“After they showed me the door?” Canty said when asked about his feelings on being back with the team. “It actually feels good having a chance to be around the guys for the first time this offseason.

“I feel really good where I’m at with my training. Being out here this week gave me some insight on some things I want to work on by continuing the training process to get my body ready for the regular season.”

Canty contemplated retirement for roughly a month this offseason before deciding he still wanted to play. He visited the New York Jets after the Ravens released him and canceled a scheduled visit with the Seattle Seahawks before re-signing with the Ravens.

His new deal includes a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary for 2015. The second year of his contract is a team option with a $2 million base salary and a $150,000 option bonus.

“It was an opportunity to take a step back from the game,” Canty said. “I just really took some time after the season after I was able to get away from it to see what direction do I want to go in, and my heart was telling me that I still wanted to play football and importantly my body was telling me I still could play football.

“Once I came to that realization, it was an easy decision.”

–With left guard Kelechi Osemele’s four-year, $3.356 million rookie contract set to expire after this season, the former second-round draft pick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Although he hasn’t been named to a Pro Bowl, Osemele’s body of work has established himself as one of the best young offensive linemen in the game after starting as a rookie on the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship team.

“I feel really good about what I’ve shown,” said Osemele, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound former All-Big 12 selection at Iowa State. “Obviously, it helps to come in here and win a Super Bowl. That’s always a good thing, but, on top of that, I’ve had great teammates and a great coaching staff behind me.

“(Offensive line) coach (Juan) Castillo has been helping me every day, working on my craft. I came in here a raw player, and, right now, I’m feeling like I’m becoming more of a technician. So, I’m feeling really good about that. I’ll let my agent handle the contract, and I kind of just focus on my part.”

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