With Courtney Upshaw’s arrival in Baltimore, the Sergio Kindle era, one that up to now has been full of disappointment, underachievement and misfortune, looked like it was coming to an end for the former Texas Longhorn.
A mere three months after he was drafted, Kindle’s career got off to a bad start as he fell down two flights of stairs. A fractured skull and limited hearing out of his left ear put Kindle’s football career in jeopardy before it even started.
After already beating the odds and being cleared to step onto an NFL field, the lasting effects of his injury still rears its ugly head as Kindle tries to make his mark in the big leagues. Kindle was only active for two games during the Ravens 2011 season and possibly lacked the confidence he needed from the coaching staff.
Yesterday I asked Kindle if his loss of hearing impacts his performance.
“It’s a big deal. I’m more acclimated with it now but we’re not in the stadium either.”
The Ravens along with Kindle are trying to restore the competitive balance when it comes to his loss of hearing.
“We’re thinking of trying to get something cleared through the league either to put in my helmet or wear in my ear – but it’s up in the air right now”, Kindle said.
When asked about what devise he was talking about, Kindle mentioned that it would be some sort of funnel to help amplify sound into his helmet.
Whether or not the implementation of this unique hearing device is successful, Kindle knows that now more than ever the team is counting on him to contribute.
“I’m always motived yearly, I just know now that I’m more needed or maybe I feel like I need to step up because of who we lost and how much [Suggs] means to this team.”
With the stakes higher than ever and possibly his job on the line, Kindle is putting more time into preparing for the upcoming season than ever before.
“I’m studying more of the playbook and doing it in different ways than before. I’m trying to be isolated – no TV, no music, none of that. I’m just trying to get away from people and the phone. I need to make sure my mind is focused on the task at hand and reviewing the playbook.”
Kindle looks to be in good shape but realizes that his biggest change can come from adjusting his mentality and preparation.
“If I learn the playbook as much as I need to I won’t have to depend on calls as much. I’ll just know what I see and go from there”, Kindle said.
When training camp begins at the end of July, Kindle will play his most meaningful football yet. If his dedication pays dividends, he’ll find his way on the 53-man roster. If not, he’ll be seeking employment elsewhere and possibly in a different business.
One thing is for sure; I’m pulling for Kindle because the talent is there and his struggles come from a freak accident. For a man who has dedicated his life to football, you can’t help but root for someone to overcome an obstacle and finally start living his dream of being an impactful football player.
If that happens, he may be happy his hearing is slightly diminished because Ravens fans will be cheering louder than ever.