When the Ravens hit the practice field during the two months of the offseason program, nose tackle Terrence Cody watched from the sideline.
He was relegated to the sidelines or the training room, as he recovered from hip surgery that put him out of commission until mid-July. The plan is for Cody to be back on field when the Ravens open training camp next week, and he expects to be a different player than what he has shown the last few years.
"This is like a fresh start right now," Cody said. "With the hip injury, I haven't been able to grow as much lately. Now that I'm about to be healthy, I can be able to do things more on the field, instead of just being there as a first- and second-down guy."
Cody's career in Baltimore hasn't gone the way he expected up to this point. He has bounced in and out of starting lineup during his first four seasons, and hasn't developed into the run-stuffing lineman the Ravens envisioned when they drafted him in the second round out of Alabama in 2010.
Cody has 87 career tackles and two pass deflections.
Much of the reason for Cody's struggles has been the nagging hip injury over the last three seasons. He's had hip procedures the last two years, and he says he now finally feels like he's getting back to his old self.
"I felt like that [injury] has held me back a lot from doing things that I normally do, that I was doing in college," Cody said. "Those two hip problems slowed me down a lot, and I haven't been able to showcase my talents.
"I'm just happy that I'm healthy for the first time in a while. Just knowing that that this hip has been nagging me the last few years, and then having it taken care of now, I'll be feeling a lot better."
Despite the injuries, the Ravens still believed in Cody enough to re-sign him after he became a free agent this offseason. Cody signed a one-year deal to stay in Baltimore.
The last time Cody was a starter – and also the last time he was fully healthy – was in 2011. Since then, he's been a rotational player along the defensive front and often used as part of a heavy defensive front in running situations.
Cody will have serious competition for playing time and a roster spot during training camp.
The Ravens drafted defensive linemen Brandon Williams (third round) and Timmy Jernigan (second round in back-to-back seasons, and expectations are high for both of them. Williams ran with the first-team defense throughout the offseason, and Jernigan was one of the most impressive rookies during the program.
"We're competing at everything," Cody said. "Just having these young guys out there showing that they can play is good competition for everybody."