Cornerback Jimmy Smith is back on the field just six months and 10 days after tearing his Achilles.
It’s huge news for the Ravens, who are hoping to have their top cornerback ready to go by the time the regular season kicks off on Sept. 9.
Smith only went through individual drills at the start of practice before heading to the sideline during 11-on-11 work. Still, it's a very positive sign.
"That was awesome, right!? I'm sure everyone was surprised," safety Eric Weddle said. "I don't know if Jimmy's half 'Wolverine,' but the dude healed up in half the time than a normal, regular human being with an Achilles."
Smith was having a Pro Bowl-caliber season last year despite playing with a sore Achilles. It tore on Dec. 3 against the Detroit Lions, leaving Baltimore once again leaning on its cornerback depth for the final playoff push.
As he heads into his eighth season in Baltimore, Smith has dealt with injuries throughout his career. The 2011 first-round pick has only played in all 16 games of a season twice.
His freakish athleticism and hard work (he's been at the Under Armour Performance Center throughout the offseason) helped him recover quickly. While it seems like an extremely fast recovery from such an injury, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs returned to game action just five months after tearing his Achilles (for the first time) in 2012.
Smith will be eased back into practice action as the Ravens look to strengthen one of their best defensive players without putting him at unnecessary risk.
"I love it, love it," Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said before cracking a joke. "He's right on schedule from what I understand. What the schedule is, I don't know."
With Smith sidelined, last year's first-round pick, Marlon Humphrey, and veteran Brandon Carr have been the first-team cornerbacks in practice. Tavon Young, who has returned from last year's knee injury, is in the slot.
"Once Jimmy gets back, we have a lot of good players out there," Weddle said.