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C.J. Mosley Keeping A Level Head


It's hard to keep a low profile when you're an inside linebacker at the University of Alabama.

When you're drafted in the first round and go to the Pro Bowl in your first NFL season, it becomes even harder.

But Ravens second-year inside linebacker C.J. Mosley isn't exactly wired like a lot of young NFL stars. The soft-spoken, mild-mannered, big hitter said he was no more of a superstar when he went back home to Alabama this offseason.

"It's about the same," he said with a laugh. "It's about the same."

Mosley had about as good a rookie season as one possibly could. He started all 16 games and logged 133 tackles, the seventh-most in the league. He added three sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble and eight passes defensed.

In short, Mosley was everywhere on the field, and just where you needed him. He earned the nickname from elder linebacker Terrell Suggs, "Half man, half amazing."

The question is, where does Mosley go from here? How does he improve as a sophomore?

"Wherever you set the bar the year before, it's important to maintain a level head and improve and get better," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"I know sometimes guys who have a great Year 1 don't have a great Year 2 – don't follow it up – but that should never be the case. If your head is screwed on the right way, you should have a better 2, and I believe C.J.'s head is screwed on the right way."

Mosley isn't acting like he knows it all. When asked what aspect of his game he wants to specifically focus on improving this year, he said becoming a smarter linebacker.

"I want to learn from Daryl [Smith] and the other 'backers that have been here for a while," he said. "Just learning more concepts or learning better schemes for the teams or opponent we're going to face – just being a smarter, all-around linebacker."

While Mosley got a lot of the attention last year, Smith had a superb season in his own right, and has been doing the job for a decade longer than Mosley. Smith registered 128 tackles (10th in the NFL), one sack, one interception and two forced fumbles.

The two players will continue to grow together and make up perhaps the league's best inside linebacker duo.

Mosley said he thinks opponents will focus more on him this year. He and Smith won't be taking anybody by surprise.

"The only thing it's going to do is bring more expectation," Mosley said. "So for me, I've got to make sure I'm doing the right things and keeping my body right as usual. You can never take a step back, so it's just building from everything I did last year and going up from there."

Taking care of his body is the top priority right now. Mosley played the final six games of last season with a broken left wrist, which he reportedly had surgically repaired this offseason. He was held out of Organized Team Activities and minicamp as it healed.

Now Mosley is back on the field with it still wrapped and in a splint, but he didn't shy away from contact during the weekend's padded practices. He says he has total confidence with it.

Asked what he can take from his rookie year to build another successful season, Mosley said the first thing is to stay healthy.

"For the most part, like I said until the last six games, I was healthy and kind of got into a routine of keeping my body right – hot tub, cold tub – making sure everything was taken care of with that part," he said.

"And the other thing is consistency. You don't want to slack off, and you don't want to get too complacent with what I did last year, because there's definitely room for me to grow."

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