Durability shouldn't be a concern with Eugene Monroe

Eugene Monroe missed a career-worst five games last season after the Baltimore Ravens signed the offensive tackle to their biggest free-agent contract of the 2014 offseason.

It was certainly bad timing, but it shouldn't be a concern. Monroe, who re-signed with Baltimore last year for $37.5 million over five years, has been one of the more durable offensive linemen in the NFL.

Over Monroe's first five seasons, he was on the field for 4,638 snaps and only seven left tackles played more: D'Brickashaw Ferguson (5,188), Jermon Bushrod (5,115), Joe Thomas (4,991), Andrew Whitworth (4,889), Donald Penn (4,842), Duane Brown (4,830) and Michael Roos (4,808).

Monroe had only missed three games due to injury from 2009 to 2013. That's what made last season so uncharacteristic for Monroe, who is known for his work in the weight room.

He first had minor knee surgery in late September which sidelined him for four games. Then, in the second-to-last regular season game, he suffered an ankle injury that forced him out of the starting lineup for the first two playoff games of his career.

"Injuries just happen. They are just things that happen," Monroe said. "I got rolled up [on] and that was it. There was no training that could prevent that, but you just grind as hard as you can and position yourself for success.”

Monroe said he wants to carry less body fat to improve his stamina during the season.

"In terms of staying healthy, the most you can do is get your body to a point where you’ve done everything under the sun to ensure that you’re strong enough to prevent whatever injury may occur," he said. "And sometimes it just happens, like last year. But that’s last year, and no one wants to get hurt, but the main objective for an athlete, for a football player, of training is injury prevention. And obviously, you get the benefit of improving your strength, speed and all those things. So yes, you just knock out every stone in the pillar.”

Monroe is among the veteran players who have something to prove this year. He was the 63rd-rated offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus last season, tying with Anthony Collins, who was cut by the Buccaneers after one season.

According to PFF, Monroe allowed three sacks and 14 quarterback hurries in 11 games. His nine penalties topped the Ravens.

If Monroe can bounce back to have a solid season, an already strong Ravens offensive line could become the best in the league.

"We have everyone back, which is fortunate, so we’re just looking to build and be better than we were last year," Monroe said. "And I think we have the guys with the right attitude, the right work ethic [and] the right commitment to being great.”