Ravens safety Dawan Landry believes he can have an even better season in 2010 after not having to spend an entire offseason rehabilitating from a devastating injury.
The spinal cord concussion he suffered in 2008 is a distant memory, and Landry feels healthy as ever.
"It's going to be a big offseason for me," Landry said Tuesday night at the Ed Block Courage Awards. "Last year, it was a tough process. Day-in, day-out, I was at the facility with the training staff testing my body out. It was tough to get back on the field. My body wasn't feeling right, and I was having a lot of tingling sensations. I wasn't able to run.
"But, I kept pushing my body to the limits, hoping to be back and be part of what we were doing as Ravens."
That says a lot for a player that finished second on the team with 82 tackles and a share of the lead with four interceptions. With Ed Reed missing four contests due to various injuries, Landry was a constant.
After watching Landry start all 16 games, Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta called him "one of the best safeties in the game."
The production was not there two years ago.
Two weeks into the season, Landry laid motionless on the turf at M&T Bank Stadium, having absorbed a hit to the crown of his helmet by Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis.
He was carted off with his family in the stands and teammates gaping on the sideline, only to begin a long, slow road to recovery.
There were times when Landry doubted whether he would ever play football again, but it took his family and teammates, along with personal strength to make a full recovery.
"My family was there, so that was big," Landry said. "Knowing that my friends and family and teammates were praying for me, that gave me an extra boost."
Landry was honored for his resiliency as somewhat of a host at Baltimore's Martin's West. The 32nd annual Ed Block Awards relies on a vote among the locker room from each team to recognize a member of each team who exemplifies sportsmanship and courage.
It is named in honor of former Baltimore Colts trainer Ed Block, a passionate advocate for at-risk children.
As such, the players spent a day in Baltimore's St. Vincent's Courage House with Landry the de-facto leader. In addition to Landry, other awardees included Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Washington Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels and New York Jets linebacker David Harris.
"That was a great experience," said the hometown hero. "I'd never been to St. Vincent's before, but I'm definitely going to go back. It was an honor to hang out with the kids, and it was an honor to be in the room with these men. They've all got their own stories."
And Landry's was just one of the more-chilling tales.
After he was immobilized on Sept. 21, 2008, he wanted to give fans a thumb's up, but he couldn't move. It then took 10 months of rehab before he could really re-join his teammates.
Along the way, the Ravens bulled their way to the AFC Championship as Landry watched from afar.
Even though the Ravens did not make it as close to the Super Bowl last year with Landry in the lineup, he hopes a healthier offseason will contribute to an always-stout defense.
"I wanted to be a part of that ride, being out there with my brothers and teammates," Landry said. "I was really anxious. But I feel good about this year. Fortunately, God blessed me with the opportunity in 2009, and I have to take it from there."