When the Ravens signed left tackle Eugene Monroe to a long-term contract before last season, they pictured him as the anchor protecting quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside.
But Monroe's first season under that long-term deal didn't go the way he or the Ravens expected. Monroe spent seven games, including both playoff contests, watching from the sidelines because of knee and ankle injuries that hindered him throughout the year.
As Monroe looks ahead to the upcoming season, his hope is to stay healthy and avoid some of the bad fortune that hit him last year.
"Sometimes it just happens," Monroe said at mandatory minicamp. "But that's last year, and no one wants to get hurt, but the main objective for an athlete, for a football player, of training is injury prevention."
The injury in 2014 was an aberration for Monroe, who has been durable throughout his career. He's known as a hard worker in the weight room during the offseason, and missed just three games over the first five seasons of his career.
"I got rolled up [on] and that was it," Monroe said. "There was no training that could prevent that, but you just grind as hard as you can and position yourself for success."
Monroe was back to full strength when he reported for the team's mandatory minicamp last week. He has trained on his own throughout the offseason, and the 300-pound lineman said he's carrying even less body fat this year.
The Ravens will count on him to be a piece of an offensive line that is set to return all five starters and is expected to be a foundation of the offense.
"We have a great group," he said. "We have everyone back, which is fortunate, so we're just looking to build and be better than we were last year. And I think we have the guys with the right attitude, the right work ethic [and] the right commitment to being great."