Tavon Young Says He's Fully Back, Playing With No Fear

CB Tavon Young

Tavon Young has played in 33 Ravens games. He's missed 51.

It's been a string of freak injuries for Baltimore's top-notch slot cornerback, who went down in Week 2 with his third season-ending injury in five years. Last year, he tore his ACL in the same knee for the second time.

That's the kind of luck that challenges any competitor's will. But Young is back for another go at it, back to being his confident self off the field and bulldog on it.

"It's always good to get back on the field," Young said Wednesday. "Those are the things that I missed – just coming out, walking through that door, walking down this hill, touching the grass. I just missed my guys. You just miss your teammates; you just miss doing what you love. It's always a blessing."

Young is a critical piece in the Ravens defense. Baltimore made him one of the league's highest-paid nickel cornerbacks after a breakout 2018 season in which he locked up slot wide receivers, scored two touchdowns, made two sacks and one interception.

When Young has been injured, the Ravens have been forced to move Marlon Humphrey inside, taking one of the game's elite cornerbacks out of his natural position. Humphrey has still played at a high level, but the entire unit is better when everybody can do what they do best.

Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said Young's return is "just more flexibility," but he didn't focus so much on what Young's return will bring between the white lines. Martindale was blown away by the return itself.

"His coming back for this training camp is a testament to how tough he is," Martindale said. "What he's done the last two years, it's unbelievable that he comes in, he hasn't skipped a bit. I don't notice anything."

Young sat out Organized Team Activities as he put the finishing touches on his rehab, but was back on the field during minicamp. Every day in training camp, he's ramped up what he's done on the field. Young said he'll try to go through an entire practice for the first time Friday.

"I'm fully healthy, for sure," he said. "I'm back. I still feel fast. I'm running with everybody. I don't feel behind. I'm just doing what I do."

Young said he doesn't feel like he's "guarding" his knee against re-injury. The question with Young is never about ability, but whether he can stay on the field. He can't think about that, however.

"You can't play scared coming back from an injury. You can't play timid. You just got to go," Young said. "When I'm out there playing in the field, I don't worry about nothing that's going on down there. I'm just playing ball, going full speed as fast as I can."

Young admitted that it was mentally tough at times coming back from his third major injury. He said he stayed in the Bible and worked a lot with Team Chaplain Johnny Shelton. He leaned on teammates and coaches.

"We're all like one family. They keep your head on straight," Young said. "My family back home just got to know who I am as a person. I know I'm tough. I know I can come back. I know I could be who I am."

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