The wear and tear of an NFL season was evident on rookie C.J. Mosley last week.
Mosley had a cast on his hand and a sore knee. He grimaced after making tackles, but fought through the pain to play every defensive snap like he has for almost his entire rookie season.
"I kind of went through the grind for this past game," Mosley said. "But that's just what comes with it. I have to put my body on the line for this team."
Mosley has been one of the Ravens' most consistent and top-performing defenders throughout the season. He leads the team with 110 tackles, and is a top candidate in the race for the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
With three weeks left in the regular season, can he keep up his torrid pace to finish with the Ravens' first rookie honor since Terrell Suggs took home the award in 2003?
"With all the hard work I've put in – pretty much since last January since my last bowl game – I've been grinding ever since to get to this spot," Mosley said. "It may just be a great accolade for me and for this organization to have another Defensive Rookie of the Year. But that's at the end of the year. We still have three more games to focus on."
Mosley has never played as much football as this season. The most games he ever played at Alabama were 14 during the 2012 national championship season. He already has 13 regular-season games and four preseason games behind him, in addition to the NFL's offseason practice schedule. Prior to that, he was training for the NFL Combine and Alabama Pro Day.
He essentially hasn't had a break since before his senior year.
To keep pace down the stretch, Mosley is keeping an eye on veterans like Suggs and Daryl Smith, who are some of the league's most tenured players at their positions.
"They might have a couple more reps off than me in practice, but other than that, they're doing the same work that I'm doing. They're busting their tails every play, making plays during the game and at practice," Mosley said. "They pretty much are keeping the pace up for young guys like me."
Mosley is on a short list of players in contention for the rookie award, along with San Francisco linebacker Chris Borland, Oakland outside linebacker Khalil Mack, St. Louis defensive lineman Aaron Donald and Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
But with the Ravens in the midst of a playoff hunt, the No. 17 overall pick said he's not paying any attention to any of the hype.
"As long as I am producing and not missing any calls on defense and we win the game, that's really all that matters to me," he said.