Kindle Battling Back
Former Texas star plans on being a Raven in 2011.
By: Mitch Light | 10/29/10, 11:00 AM EDT
By Charean Williams
Doctors once doubted him, but Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle always has believed he will play again.
Kindle is back in Baltimore rehabbing three months after he took a wrong turn during the night at a friend’s house and fell down two flights of stairs. Kindle, who has a hairline fracture in his skull, has yet to regain his balance.
“I’m encouraged every day,” Kindle said. “I might not have gotten this opportunity to come back. It’s a blessing that the team actually brought me back. I’m doing everything I can to get back to 100 percent, if not 150 percent, and be as good as I was before I got injured, if not better.”
Kindle was expected to have an immediate impact as a pass rusher after the Ravens made him the 43rd overall pick. He drew comparisons to former University of Texas teammate Brian Orakpo, who had 11 sacks for the Redskins as a rookie in 2009.
But Kindle never even made it to training camp.
On the night of July 25, he lost his way in an unfamiliar house after going to the bathroom during the night. Kindle doesn’t remember much after that.
“I remember when I was on my way to hitting the stairs,” Kindle said.
Doctors initially were not optimistic that he would ever play football again. He spent two weeks in an Austin, Texas, hospital.
“The doctors threw that out there as a possibility [that he wouldn’t play again],” Kindle said. “I know I have to play it safe, because it’s a head injury. But the way I’ve always felt about it: I felt I’d be able to play again. I just didn’t know how soon. I know for sure that next year I’ll be on the green grass again.”
Kindle signed a one-year contract that will pay him a prorated salary of $282,000. He received no bonus. (Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, drafted one spot before Kindle, signed a four-year, $4.44 million deal with a $1.76 million bonus.)
He is working out, learning the playbook, attending meetings and doing occupational therapy. Kindle attends home games and watches road games on television. For the first fall since he was 4 years old, he is not playing football.
Kindle, though, is taking it one step at a time, one day at a time.
“After falling down, and facing the possibility of not having your dream come true, a dream you’ve had your whole life,” Kindle said, “it made me seem like I was taking it for granted, the opportunity that I had. I’m not saying that I was, but I will just say there were things that I’ve done that weren’t great. Now, with this second chance I have, I’ve got to make the best of it.”
Dawson still kicking it
Browns kicker Phil Dawson might be one of the most underrated players in NFL history. He has never made the Pro Bowl, never been an All-Pro.
Yet, Dawson has made 81.8 percent of his 286 field goal attempts, and two games ago, he broke Lou Groza’s team record for career field goals. Dawson now has made 238 field goals in his 12 seasons.
He has been overlooked because of the Browns’ struggles.
Dawson, the last remaining member of the 1999 expansion Browns, has seen his team go 61–122, with one playoff game and only two winning seasons in his career. He has lacked the opportunity to make many game-winning kicks, with only 12 in his 12 seasons.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say [the losses] are mounting,” Dawson said. “You don’t ever want to expect it or accept it. As a competitor, you come each and every week and give it your all and be optimistic and hopeful and all those things. As the years have gone by, it’s getting harder and harder to process it and handle it probably the way I had hoped. … I see the opportunities other guys in this league get [with playoff games], and certainly I’m envious of being in that position and would very much look forward to getting that opportunity before all is said and done.”
Dawson, 35, has wanted a new contract for a while now. He is a free agent after this season and likely will be in high demand. Though Cleveland is the only NFL home Dawson has ever known, the Browns still are rebuilding 12 years later.
Dawson said he has thought about the future, but his focus is on the here and now.
“I’ve haven’t given up on this season yet,” he said. “There will be plenty of time to sit down and evaluate and consider and do all those things, but now is not the time to do that.”
• Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna, who is replacing the injured Tony Romo, is 46-69 as a starter. Only three active quarterbacks — Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and Kerry Collins — have more losses. He has not started a game in more than two years, since Oct. 5, 2008, and he has not won as a starter since Dec. 23, 2007.
• Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer is having his best season. Jammer, the fifth overall pick in 2002, has been targeted 33 times. He has allowed 15 receptions for 123 yards.
• Joe Flacco threw a career-worst four interceptions in a Week 2 loss to the Bengals. In the five weeks since then, Flacco has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,249 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. He has the second-highest passer rating in the NFL (105) in that span, trailing only Kansas City’s Matt Cassel (108.9).
• The Titans have seven consecutive losses to the Chargers. The last time the franchise beat San Diego, the team was the Houston Oilers.
• Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has 11 interceptions in 27 games with the Redskins. His teammates have only 12 in that span. Hall ranks second behind only Baltimore safety Ed Reed and Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel with 31 interceptions since he was drafted in 2004.
• Reed forced three turnovers, including two interceptions, in his first game back for the Ravens. Baltimore had only three interceptions in the first six games with Reed on the physically unable to perform list.
• The AFC leads in interconference games 17-12. The Texans are the only AFC team with a winning record that has lost to an NFC team. Houston did it twice, with losses to the Cowboys and to the Giants.
• In the four games before Seattle traded for Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks averaged 70.5 yards per game rushing. In the two games with Lynch, they have averaged 127.5 on the ground.
• Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has 82 total passing yards in the second halves of his past two games combined. Against San Diego and Tampa Bay, Bradford completed 10-of-19 passes in the second half with no touchdowns or interceptions. In the first halves, he was 21-of-38 for 242 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
• The Packers have lost nine players to injured reserve since the start of the season, including running back Ryan Grant, linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley.
• The Colts have either owned for shared the AFC South lead in 115 of 143 weeks of the division’s existence. Indianapolis has six AFC South titles.
• Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams, who turned 38 on Oct. 24, is the oldest active defensive player in the NFL. Minnesota also has the league’s oldest player in Brett Favre, 41.
• The Patriots are 28-5 in the month of October since the 2003 season. They have won 19 of their past 21 games in the month, including a 3-0 record this season.
• The Saints have turned the ball over 14 times this season, including nine in the past three games. On the other side, a defense that averaged 2.4 takeaways per game last season has but six in seven games. (The Saints also have three takeaways on special teams.) That leaves New Orleans at minus-5 in turnover differential.
• The Eagles have intercepted 11 passes. They have allowed 13 touchdown passes, including eight in the past three games.
• The Steelers are 24-4 against NFC teams since 2003, including two Super Bowls.
• Jay Cutler’s passer rating has fallen from 109.7 to 84.1 over the past four games. In 22 games in Chicago, he has 33 interceptions and 34 touchdown passes.
• Since December 2008, the Cardinals are 9-0 after losses.
• Matt Ryan is 16-1 (.941) at home since becoming the Falcons’ starting quarterback as a rookie in 2008.
• Carson Palmer has three 300-yard games this season, all losses. The Bengals are 5-9 all time when Palmer throws for 300 or more yards.
• With a league-leading 54 catches for 747 yards through seven games, Falcons receiver Roddy White is on pace to catch 123 passes. That which would break Terance Mathis’ team record of 111, set in 1994.
• Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has 80 rushing yards in his past 32 carries.
Most Popular Articles
Contests & Promotions
Athlon Sports Fantasy Racing!
Enter the Athlon Sports Fantasy Racing game. Just head over to athlon.myfantasyracing.com and register for your chance to win a chance to watch a 2014 race from the grandstands. You'll also have a chance to win other amazing prizes such as an autographed Kyle Busch helmet.