Terrence Cody could not wait for Wednesday's practice.
It was the first time he'd been on the football field since December, and he had spent the last several months going through intensive rehab to recover from his second hip surgery in as many years.
"I feel like a little kid on Christmas day waking up again," Cody said with a smile after he walked off the field.
Cody was back to his old self as he sat in the Ravens' locker room, loudly joking with teammates as he changed after practice.
But Cody doesn't look quite the same. He has noticeably slimmed down from previous seasons, and he's hoping that his trimmer figure will help now that he's back on the field.
"Being light this year and having my body fat down, it's going to be good on my joints and my muscle and my hips," he said.
The former second-round pick has been hobbled with injuries since he came into the NFL. The Alabama product was nearly 400 pounds in college, and carrying around the extra weight took a toll on his body.
He cut weight once he got to the NFL, but his joints had already taken a pounding. His hips ailed him, and he had surgery on the right hip two years ago. This offseason, he had surgery on his left hip.
Now the hips are healthy, and he's also in better condition.
"It's going to feel good in the long run because with how big I used to be, it kind of put a lot of pressure on my joints and body."
Getting in better shape was a focus for Cody after the Ravens re-signed him this offseason on a one-year contract. The hip surgery kept him from participating during practice, so he put his energy in his conditioning for when he did return to action.
After his first day back on the field, Cody liked the early returns.
"I'm not winded or even that tired," he said.
The coaching staff has also taken notice of Cody's progress.
"We've seen him do some things in there that we've never seen him do before, from an athletic standpoint, as far as being healthy with his hips," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's in great shape."
The Ravens have three weeks to practice Cody before they have to decide whether to place him on the active roster, cut him, or put him on injured reserve. They could also decide to put Cody on the 53-man squad during those three weeks if they feel like he's ready to play.
"He's chomping at the bit," Harbaugh said. "We'll see how he does."
Getting Cody back would give the Ravens another experienced player on their defensive front, which has already had to overcome a handful of injuries. Defensive ends Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles) and Brent Urban (knee) were lost for the season in training camp, and Chris Canty has been sidelined the last few weeks after getting an infection in his wrist.
Cody is a natural nose tackle who would provide depth behind Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams, who have been two of the Ravens' best defenders through the first six games.
"I'm just really focused right now. I'm looking straight ahead with tunnel vision just to get back on the field," Cody said. "I'll just bring another piece to the defense, being able to dominate up front."