Jimmy Smith's local trainer in Timonium casually suggested that he take up boxing. The Ravens cornerback figured why not, so he gave it a shot for the first time.
"The next day my body was so sore," Smith told me. "I was like, 'I like this. I have to do more.' My core was tore up, lats, everything."
It's not like the days when former Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski turned professional during the lockout. But boxing has become the en vogue offseason training method for some Ravens players.
Smith is joined by tackle Bryant McKinnie, linebacker Jameel McClain and perhaps more in using the sport to keep in shape during this down time in the NFL schedule.
If you ask me, it's a smart choice.
I joined an L.A. Boxing for a few months back in 2009, and I can tell you nothing ever kicked my butt more (well, except maybe the Ravens' conditioning test). It's a great workout with low chance of injury – as long as the trainer isn't throwing haymakers back at you.
Smith lost 10 pounds and said he strengthened his core muscles, which particularly helps improve balance and stability. He also felt it would help his speed.
Balance and stability are key factors for an offensive tackle, especially one with McKinnie's 6-foot-8, 354-pound frame. McKinnie is training with boxer Jose Perez in Florida, and posted this video of himself in a workout:
McClain, a former boxer in Golden Gloves competitions in and around Philadelphia during his youth, still turns to the sport for his training. I saw this tweet from him a little while back:
2 workouts in now boxing or yoga tonight. Which one? — Jameel McClain (@JameelMcClain) May 29, 2013
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis worked boxing into his legendary workouts, and it also looks like running back Ray Rice did some last offseason.