OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele used the words going into last year, “Pro Bowl or Bust.”
As a rookie in 2012, Osemele shined at left guard during Baltimore’s playoff run after playing right tackle during the regular season, and both Osemele and Ravens coaches felt like he had the potential to become a Pro Bowl-caliber player at left guard last season.
He didn’t, largely because of a back injury that eventually required season-ending surgery. But now healthy, Osemele feels like he should be the type of presence at left guard that Baltimore expected him to be last year, which would be big for an offensive line that was a consistent problem area for the Ravens throughout last season.
“This is the best I’ve felt since I was 19 or 20,” Osemele said after an organized team activity practice Thursday. “I feel great.”
Osemele didn’t undergo any type of surgery until November, but the back had been an issue for him since even before the Ravens took him in the second round in 2012.
He played through it as a rookie, but he further damaged the back while training for last season, and it was a consistent problem for him until being placed on season-ending injured reserve in early November.
“I tried to turn it up a notch [during training] with the goal in mind of a Pro Bowl coming into my second year. And doing that, it worsened the injury,” Osemele said.
So Osemele underwent the surgery. He wasn’t sure of the exact name of the procedure, but he said doctors shaved off some of the cartilage and bone in his back.
Prior to the surgery, Osemele was having the problems during football-related activities, but the back was also an issue for him during his every day life.
“I think the medical term is incontinence, struggling with peeing and stuff, I think that’s probably when I knew it was something that I probably had to address because it could be permanent,” Osemele said.
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