Rick Wagner Itching To Return To Action


It's almost anniversary time for Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner, and he's not planning to celebrate another.

Wagner's seven-month anniversary since having surgery on his Lisfranc foot injury was Thursday. Now, he is looking forward to training camp after reporting with other injured players Friday.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this offseason that camp was the target date for return.

"It's been a long time," Wagner said. "I've been looking out the window a lot, watching guys do [Organized Team Activities], waiting to get out there."

Wagner was having a superb 2014 season before suffering the injury in Week 16 against Houston.

For most of the year, he was the top-graded right tackle in the league by Pro Football Focus (PFF). He ended the season ranked third behind New England's Sebastian Vollmer and Philadelphia's Lane Johnson.

Wagner was a major reason for the Ravens' turnaround in the run game, and only gave up two sacks and one additional quarterback hit throughout the season, per PFF.

Then, out of nowhere, Wagner went down when blocking the Texans' talented defensive front, led by J.J. Watt. He missed the regular-season finale and both playoff games, forcing Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda to slide over to tackle.

"It was kind of tough," Wagner said. "We worked hard all year as an offensive line to get to the playoffs and I had to watch them from home. But it just makes me want to get there again this year."

The Ravens are returning their entire starting offensive line this season, but only three-fifths of it was back in action during mandatory minicamp. Wagner and center Jeremy Zuttah (hip) were sidelined. That looks like it will be changing soon.

Wagner said he's been walking around normally, running and doing lower body workouts for the past month-and-a-half. He's spent the entire offseason rehabbing at the Under Armour Performance Center.

"It feels great," Wagner said of his foot. "I don't think I'm yet 100 percent, but I'm as close as I can be. I still have all of camp to get in football shape again."

Wagner said the expectation is that he'll be ready for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13.

"That was always the plan, but we'll see how camp goes and we'll take it from there," he said. "I think I had a pretty good year last year. I just want to prove to people that I can do it again and be even better."

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