Dannell Ellerbe had trouble remembering the last time he played at 100 percent.
"Give me a minute," the inside linebacker said following Sunday's practice at Stevenson University.
After long thought, Ellerbe finally came back with Week 3 of last season in St. Louis. That's when he first injured his hamstring in a 37-7 Ravens win.
Since then, Ellerbe, 26, has been pestered by recurring problems that have held him back.
With the regular season approaching, the former undrafted rookie free agent knows he needs to put those behind him if he's going to retain a prominent role in a variety of defensive packages.
"The next two weeks are going to be awfully important for me as far as getting my body ready, and as far as mentally and physically showing everybody what I can do," Ellerbe said. "I've put it on film and I've got to keep doing it."
When Ellerbe has been on the field, he's played well. The thumping 6-foot-1, 240-pounder finished tied with a team-leading six tackles Friday night against Detroit.
"He played a really good game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He has really played that way every time he gets a chance. He has had a few injury issues – the hamstring and things this camp – but seems to be overcoming them right now and he is playing well."
Ellerbe has missed a couple of practices during training camp and has been limited in a few others. The hamstring caused him to miss five games last year. A concussion held him out of another. He recorded 18 tackles on the year after having 31 in 2010 and 41 in 2009.
Ellerbe felt good this whole offseason, then felt a pull right before the start of training camp. He came out to practice thinking he would be alright, but it flared up again.
Now Ellerbe finally feels like he's getting healthy.
"It's kind of aggravating because it's something that I thought I was over," he said. "I didn't pull it or anything. [Missing practice] was just precautionary so I didn't have to go through that this season, but you always want to be your best when you go out there. I feel like I'm getting as close to 100 [percent] as I possibly can."