A long time coming for Dan Cody

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
WESTMINSTER, Md. -- At this point, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Dan Cody appreciates the little things about football.

"It just feels good to come in after practice and be tired just like everybody else," Cody said. "I think that's probably the best part."

During Cody's three NFL seasons, he barely broke a sweat. Multiple knee and foot injuries have reduced the former second-round pick in 2005 to just 14 career snaps over two games.

Cody didn't play his rookie year because he tore knee ligaments in the first practice of training camp. He worked his way back to the field in November of 2006 only to play as a reserve in one full game, then injure his knee again in the first quarter of his second career game. Cody then landed on the Injured Reserve list in 2007 -- the third time in as many seasons -- with a broken foot and more knee complications.

Now, Cody feels he's finally due for a clean bill of health in his fourth season.

"You don't get respect in this business unless you're playing," Cody said. "That's just how it is. It's the nature of the game. You can even get respect if you don't play, as long as you're out there working. But when you're hurt and spending all that time on the bench, it's another thing. So it's just good for morale [to practice]."

Watching Cody practice this week displayed why the Ravens liked his potential coming out of Oklahoma. He is 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds with an impressive wing span. He also moves well in space, which the Ravens like on the outside of their defense.

As the veterans arrive in Westminster Wednesday, Cody is looking forward to just fitting in. In many ways Cody still feels like an unproven rookie. He mentioned trying to make some special teams units this year as one of his primary goals, then aims to gradually make contributions to an already star-laden defense.

"If I can just find my way on the field," Cody says. "...I think I can really show people what I'm capable of."