Birk Barfs; Ravens Train Seriously
Yes, when you make your living as a pro athlete, you push your body to the limit to separate you from other athletes trying to take your job.
The Ravens have players who like training, who enjoy getting in the weight room, running in sand and other pursuits that take abilities to a higher level.
"We try to bring in players who like football and all the things that go with that," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We don't just take the biggest and fastest guys and hope it all works out. We want players who love the physicality of the game. Guys you don't have to beg to get into the weight room or train in the offseason. Maybe this is what we mean when we say, 'He's a Ravens-type player.' That's a player who does the right things to be better and brings it every play, and does it willingly."
Newsome recruited Birk to be a Raven, because "Matt fit our profile. He's a Pro Bowl player, but after that, he keeps in great shape, he's smart and tough. He sets an example with the way he works."
Birk realizes the importance of pushing his body to higher levels. "It behooves me to do whatever it takes to continue to play at a high level. I'm always looking for ways to improve my training regimen, my diet, my sleep and lifestyle habits.
"I work with our strength coaches. I've read numerous books on diet and nutrition and applied those to my diet," Birk continued. "My wife (Adrianna) is involved and helps out. Really, I have a whole team helping me play this long."
The upchuck and the frog rugs? "The first day after the last game of my rookie year, I went over to our long snapper's house for a workout. Mike Morris was legendary for his training and, at 51 today, he's still in phenomenal shape. We trained legs and worked so hard that it made me throw up in his kids' bathroom, which was in the basement. I threw up all over, including on these rugs that were shaped like frogs. I tried to clean everything up, but couldn't get the rugs very clean. I rolled them up, took them home and cleaned them there."
"One of the things that is underrated about good receivers is the ability to run all day,"
"I also box in the offseason," Boldin added. "Not a lot of people have boxed, but I'm telling you, you spar 10 rounds, it's a beast, and I respect anyone who does that. Look, in order to perform well, you have to be healthy. To be healthy, you have to take care of your body. My body is my investment, and I keep investing in it."
Cody Changes Body
"I have a guy who stretches me twice a week. I have another person that gives me a massage twice a week. I work with a nutritionist, our strength coaches and trainers. I use all the help available. My friends at home, when they see me now, they don't see 'Mt. Cody' anymore. It's more like 'Speed Bump' or 'Hill Cody.'"
Ayanbadejo Pushes The Limits
"Then I have a trainer that trains me in my workouts," Ayanbadejo continued. "There's a strength and conditioning trainer, and I do a lot on my own. I love working in the weight room, biking, and I really enjoy sprint work outside. High intensity, interval training. And, I admit I do some things for aesthetics. I want to look good now and when I retire."
Welcome Back, Kemo
"I'm a strong man and worked at that, but I had to change the way I ate. I eat a lot of salad, fruit and fish now. It has paid off. I'm back in the league, and I think I'm playing better than when I was so big. I feel better than when I was just a young kid with the Ravens. I'm so excited to be here and proud of the work I did to make it back."
(We're happy Kemo is back, too. He has been impressive in training camp and should be a significant contributor to our defensive success, especially stopping the run.)
No Hazing Here
You might have heard about the Giants throwing teammates into the cold tub and the problems that caused for them. If you've watched "Hard Knocks," you've seen the Dolphins rookies being abused by veterans, including cutting and dyeing the young players' hair.
We don't do that here. We have fun, but our players seldom disrespect one another. Our rookies do sing and perform at team meetings. It's entertaining, but not demeaning. "No one deserves to be hazed," John Harbaugh said. "We're teammates. You can have fun without embarrassing someone, without intimidating."
And we've had fun in camp. We've seen
Talk with you next week,