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Jimmy Smith Healthy Again, Expects To Be Better In 2016

Posted Apr 20, 2016

The starting cornerback dealt with a Lisfranc foot issue last year, and the injury was more difficult than he expected.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith is in a much different place than this point last year.

Smith was in the middle of a long rehab process for a Lisfranc foot sprain when the Ravens opened their offseason training program last April, and that recovery would linger throughout much of the 2015 season. Smith now enters the offseason program healthy, almost 18 months removed from first suffering the foot injury.

“It’s going to feel great to go into OTAs and all of the camps without having nagging injuries, and being able to go full speed with the team,” Smith said. “Obviously, I played with it last year – not at the level that I expected myself to – but I think I’ll be better this year.”

The 27-year-old cornerback played every game last season despite the injury, but he admitted after the season that the foot impacted his performance. He didn’t have the same burst or speed early in the season, and opposing receivers exploited that.

Cincinnati’s A.J. Green had the biggest game against Smith, going off for 227 yards in a Week 3 victory over the Ravens.

Smith eventually settled into a groove midway through the season, playing at a much higher level in the final eight games. He was the NFL’s sixth-best cornerback in coverage in the second half of the year, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Some games I felt way better than some days,” Smith said. “It’s just a lot of wear and tear on the foot, and you can never not use your foot – you’re always on it. And the Lisfranc is a tough injury; it’s still got a little bit of stuff that occurs with it now, that reoccurs with it. But it’s healthy and I’ll be able to run full speed and be able to train regular.”

The Ravens are counting on Smith to pick up where he left off at the end of last year. Baltimore signed him to a contract reportedly worth $48 million before the start of last season, and the hope is for him to play at a Pro Bowl level.

Recovering from the Lisfranc sprain took longer than Smith expected. It was the first time in his career he had dealt with a serious injury and he had to learn how to live with it.

“I’m hoping that it doesn’t bother me at all [this year], but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t still get sore just from the amount of training I’ve already done,” he said. “But it’s just kind of like with any injury; when it heals, it heals and when it’s done, it’s done.”

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