The Baltimore Ravens pride themselves on running the football. A big part of that is left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
That’s why the Ravens signed him to a five-year, contract extension worth $112.9 million making him the highest paid lineman in the NFL.
Stanley suffered a major ankle injury in Week 8 last season and hasn’t played in a game since.
“It was rough. I know when the injury first happened, I didn’t really think much. I just thought, ‘my season is over. I’m not going to be there for my guys,’ and that was the biggest thing,” Stanley said.
“It was really hard to just think about football after that and to even watch it. I would really only watch Ravens games and support my guys. But it was hard to think about something that you know you could play [and] do at a high level and then now it’s just, all of a sudden, you can’t do anything. It was a lot of days just trying to get my mind off that.”
The injury cost Stanley the rest of the 2020 season. He said it was hard to get his mind off of football. He relied on video games, spending time with his dogs and meditation as ways to clear his mind while he was away from the game he missed dearly.
However, Stanley couldn’t stay fully away from the game.
“I’d watch Notre Dame games, for sure. But honestly, the more football I watched, the more I [thought] about it and the more upset I ended up getting, so it was better for me to just probably stay away and focus on Ravens games. But I always had to sneak in some Notre Dame games,” Stanley said referring to his alma mater.
As the Ravens begin to wrap up training camp, it is becoming clear that Stanley will be back sooner than later. He said the first time he stepped onto the field was really weird but he felt good knowing how far he had come since the moment he went down with the injury.
Stanley feels he’s getting more comfortable every day he steps onto the field.
“I feel good. I just really feel blessed to be back out with my brothers and be able to do what I love. It was really close to being all taken away, so I’m really just thankful,” Stanley said. “I think I’m pretty close. I’m just building up that flexibility— it’s just taking some time— but other than that, I feel really good. My technique feels good. Everything still feels kind of slow, vision-wise, so I still can see everything.”
The goal is to be ready for the season opener in Las Vegas against the Raiders.
Stanley feels he’ll be back to the All-Pro status that he had before injury.
“I think that’s a big thing for me— is not just coming back to football but coming back at an elite level and playing to the level that I know I can play at,” Stanley said.
The road back to All-Pro starts on September 13, 2021.