The first year-and-a-half of Terrence Brooks' NFL career has been a frustrating roller coaster.
His opportunities to play have been limited, and whenever he's had a chance to step into a larger role, he's been hit with the injury bug. A serious knee injury ended his rookie season after 11 games. Then a thumb issue put him on the shelf this year just as he started to see more defensive snaps.
Brooks is now fully recovered from the thumb injury, but he still spent last week on the sidelines as a gameday inactive. With seven games left in the season, the second-year safety is chomping at the bit to get more opportunities.
"I'm definitely really eager," Brooks said. "It's not satisfying to me to be sitting on the sideline watching someone else playing a position that I play. It eats me up inside, but that's definitely giving me more drive each and every day to get back on the field and just stay out there."
Brooks has seen action in five games this year, and mostly in a special-teams role. Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis have been entrenched as the starting safeties, putting Brooks in a spot where playing time is scarce.
He has spent much of this year as a scout-team safety, and the coaches want to make sure he has a firm grasp on the defense before putting him into the lineup.
"I love the guy, and he can run, he can hit," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "It's just sometimes, he has just got to know the position, and you can't go out, and you can't make a mental error, whether it be in practice or whatever. That doesn't exactly build confidence then to let him do it in the game."
Pees said he talked with Brooks in his office this week about what he needs to do to get on the field, and the safety wants to prove to the coaching staff he's up to the task.
"I just have to keep proving to the coaches that I know everything out there, and that I can be that commander that they want at safety," he said.
The Ravens have stressed over the last two seasons that they have high hopes for Brooks and think he could turn into a difference maker for the defense. He's one of the Ravens' fastest players in the secondary, showed good ball skills in college and isn't afraid to deliver a big hit.
"He's going to be a good football player; I'll tell you right now," Pees said. "He's going to be, and he'll play a lot of football here. He's just got to keep growing with it and, when you get the opportunity, take advantage of it."
Now Brooks is just waiting for that opportunity, and hopes it comes as soon as possible.
"I wake up every morning just ready to go and ready to get called," he said.