Running back Bernard Pierce is on the mend after having offseason surgery to repair an injured rotator cuff.
The third-year player has been rehabbing his shoulder at the Under Armour Performance Center throughout the offseason, and he's pleased with his progress.
"I'm definitely ahead of schedule, and I'm definitely going to be ready for training camp," Pierce said last week.
Returning for training camp meshes with the Ravens' original timeline, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the combine in February that Pierce was not expected back in action until camp. He is still able to work out and participate in meetings, but the Ravens would hold him out of contact drills.
Pierce played through the injury last season and was active for all 16 games. He finished the year with 152 carries for 436 yards.
Getting Pierce healthy is critical for the Ravens, as they have some lingering questions in the backfield. Starter Ray Rice is dealing with off-the-field issues after being indicted on a third-degree aggravated assault charge for a domestic violence incident with his fiancée. The NFL has yet to make a decision on punishment for Rice, but he could face a suspension.
Even if Rice isn't suspended, the Ravens are focused on getting their running game back on track after Rice and Pierce both had down seasons in 2013.
"We're slowly but surely making progress, and I'm just excited for the upcoming year," Pierce said.
Pierce and Rice will also likely have additional competition in the backfield, as the Ravens plan to bring in at least one more running back this offseason. That new back could come from the draft or free agency, or potentially both.
Pierce said he would welcome another back and the competition that comes with it.
"At the end of the day it's a job, so if another back comes in, so be it," he said. "Then we're just going to have to compete for that spot."