OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- While other Pro Bowl players have held out this summer or brought plenty of drama to their contract issues, middle linebacker C.J. Mosley simply brought a piece of paper to the Baltimore Ravens' team facility.
Taped at eye level in front of his locker, Mosley's list of goals includes leading the league in tackles and becoming NFL defensive MVP and Super Bowl MVP.
“I’ve always had my goals, but putting them up so I can see them, that’s kind of a new step for me," Mosley said. "It’s just something to look at every day when I’m kind of tired and just gives me a little motivation to keep going, keep pushing."
Mosley, who is entering his fifth-year option deal, has been among the top linebackers in the league. But, based on the list, he wants to be considered the best.
Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis said this year that Mosley is the No. 1 middle linebacker in the game. Perhaps not coincidentally, Lewis accomplished everything that Mosley has written on his list.
Mosley, who keeps a copy of the list on his phone as well, said he got the idea to write down his goals from defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, who picked up the practice from former coach Lou Holtz.
"I’ve always urged players to do it, because you would be amazed if you put down your goals [to see] what they are and go back and look at them," Martindale said. "If you see them every day, you’ll start checking them off. I just think that’s a mindset of what you want to do and how you want to attack each season, and really how you want to attack life."
Mosley has been in attack mode throughout his career, reaching the Pro Bowl in three of his first four seasons. Since entering the NFL in 2014, Mosley is one of two players in the league with at least 450 tackles, five sacks and five interceptions. Carolina's Luke Kuechly is the other.
Mosley has been just as impressive in handling the business side of football. Despite not being given an extension, Mosley attended all of the voluntary workouts in the spring while others in fifth-year options, including Dallas' Zack Martin, did not. He also reported to training camp on time and didn't hold out like Khalil Mack did in Oakland.
“I’ve got my last year to play out, but I guess further down the road, it might become more of an issue maybe," he said. "I don’t know. Those are the types of things that I let my agent and them work on upstairs. I’ve talked to my agent, and we’re trying to get somewhere with it. That’s about all I can say right now."
Kuechly is the NFL's highest-paid middle linebacker, earning $12.5 million per season. The other four highest-paid -- Seattle's Bobby Wagner ($10.75 million), the New York Giants' Alec Ogletree ($10.6 million), Minnesota's Eric Kendricks ($10 million) and Houston's Benardrick McKinney ($10 million) -- all average over $10 million each year.
"He’s going to get a big contract -- there’s no question about it," coach John Harbaugh said. "As coaches, you root for your players to sign big deals. So, C.J. Mosley: Take care of business. Take care of what’s important. What matters to you and what can you control? That’s what he’s doing a great job of. He’s just a fine young man, and you wouldn’t expect anything else."