Ronnie Stanley is one of the best tackles in the game. At least, he was before he tore up his knee last year, just after he got paid like the best tackle in the game. Now the veteran Baltimore Ravens left tackle is out to prove it again. But he’s just appreciative to be in that situation in the first place.
“I feel good”, he told reporters after getting his first in-game work in since his knee injury.” 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”.
“I mean, that injury, it’s not an easy thing to come [back from], especially my position, needing all the flexibility I can get”, he added. “Anything could have happened. Something [could not] have healed right. Just being able to play the game again and play at a high level, I’m thankful”.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans should know how complicated an injury recovery can be. While it was a different type of injury, center Maurkice Pouncey ultimately required something like seven surgeries several years ago after suffering one injury during the preseason, which knocked him out for the entire year. it took him a year or two to get back to where he was—though many would argue he never did.
“I think I’m pretty close” to his pre-injury state now, though, Stanley said. “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”.
Of course, if there were ever a ‘good’ time to be injured, Stanley’s timing couldn’t have been better. He signed a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension, if which more than 70 percent was guaranteed, and about two-thirds was fully guaranteed. Laremy Tunsil’s deal was already ahead of his, though David Bakhtiari and Trent Williams also surpassed his deal this offseason. But while he appreciated the security, the absence was still brutal.
“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”, he said, similar to what we’ve heard many injured Steelers players say over the years.” It was really hard to just think about football after that and to even watch it”.
“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”, he added, “all of a sudden, you can’t do anything. It was a lot of days just trying to get my mind off that”.
But he’s back now, and ready to regain his status as one of the best linemen in the game.