Jimmy Smith believes the foot issue that plagued him last year is finally behind him.
The sixth-year cornerback suffered a Lisfranc foot sprain during the 2014 season, and the injury continued to affect him throughout last year. The foot – and his play – improved in the second half of the season, but he still had soreness and swelling more than a year removed from the injury.
To try to put the foot issue behind him for good, Smith removed the screws in his foot that were put in when he initially had the Lisfranc surgery. He had the screws taken out about six weeks ago, and he can already feel the difference.
"The screws were really bothering my foot; it had my bone swelling up," he said. "I think taking them out was the best decision for me. Obviously, it feels way better than it did before."
Smith missed most of the offseason program to let his foot heal. He participated in individual drills during minicamp this week, but said he "absolutely" expects to be ready for a full workload at the start of training camp.
"I can practice," Smith said. "I can run and do other things now without the next day feeling too bad. Hopefully over this next six weeks, it will heal up even more, and I'll be able to go 100 percent."
Having Smith healthy is critical for the defense. He's the team's top cornerback and the Ravens don't have much depth at outside corner. When Smith is at his best, he has the ability to lock down an opposing team's best receiver on a weekly basis.
Improving the secondary was a top priority of the offseason, and the Ravens did that by moving Lardarius Webb to safety, and signing Eric Weddle and Jerraud Powers. The secondary was arguably the top performing groups during minicamp even with Smith sidelined, and he has high hopes for the unit when he gets back on the field this summer.
"I think we are going to be good," he said. "But I always think that."