Mark Ingram was a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2011. He is now 30 years old. And he believes he still has several more good years left in the tank as he embarks on his second season with the Baltimore Ravens, a year after making the Pro Bowl.
In 2019, Ingram rushed for over 1000 yards with 10 rushing touchdowns, and he also caught another five touchdown passes, working as the primary complement to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who led the team in rushing. The Ravens set a new NFL record for rushing yards in a single season.
“I’m with a great team that takes care of me, and I feel like I can play this game at a high level – at the highest level – for at least another four or five years”, Ingram told reporters earlier this week. “I feel like that. I honestly do. My body feels good. I’m moving good. I have nothing really lagging. If I do, I’ll be working on it, rehabbing it, strengthening it up so all my weaknesses are turning into my strengths”.
Over the course of his nine-year career, Ingram has never been a sole featured runner. He has only topped 200 carries in a single season four times, and never more than 230, so he may not have the sort of wear and tear that other backs may have who have nine years under their belt.
Over the span of 1523 career carries, he has rushed for 7025 yards, with 60 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He also has 254 receptions for 1845 yards and 10 more touchdowns. He has only averaged 12.6 carries per game, so he has not been a workhorse.
“I just want to be the best, man. I want to be one of the best”, he continued. “When you talk about running backs who had long, prestigious careers, I want to be in that discussion. I want to be talked about that way. I just want to be the best player that I can be. I want to win championships, and I want to do it at a high level, and I feel like I can do that for a long time”.
He has a better chance of being in the discussion of backs with longevity than all-time backs. He certainly is not tracking toward putting up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers. Not that that should in any way diminish his achievements.
“It’s not to prove anybody wrong, but it’s basically to prove everyone who believed in me all this time right”, Ingram went on to say about his planned longevity. “And myself, I have goals for myself, man, so I’m chasing them really hard, and I just feel like I’m going to keep getting better with the experience, with the knowledge and how I’m training and taking care of my body mentally, physically [and] emotionally. My family [giving] me support – I just feel like I can play this game at a high level for a long time”.