Six months after undergoing rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder, Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce says he's able to practice with no restrictions at training camp.
Pierce practiced during the offseason, but wasn't fully cleared after having the damage to his shoulder repaired in January.
"My shoulder definitely got a lot better," Pierce said after practicing Tuesday. "I know that this is when the real grind starts. It was strenuous today, but overall it was definitely helpful."
When asked if he's ready for contact drills, Pierce replied: "Yeah, I'm good."
Pierce is noticeably leaner than this winter when he admitted he gained several pounds while recovering from the surgery. Pierce said he's down to roughly 223 pounds.
"I'm probably back down near my rookie weight," Pierce said.
Having Pierce in shape and at full health could be pivotal for the Ravens' offense, especially early in the season when starting running back Ray Rice may be suspended under the NFL personal-conduct policy.
Drafted in the third round in 2012 out of Temple, Pierce dealt with several injuries last season. That included shoulder, hamstring, knee and toe ailments.
He rushed for 436 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 2.9 yards per carry as the injury-riddled Ravens finished 30th in rushing offense. He caught 20 passes for 104 yards. As a rookie, Pierce rushed for 532 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.
Pierce is upbeat about operating out of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system, which heavily emphasizes the running game and his patented zone-stretch running plays.
"The running game is definitely a lot simpler than what we had the year before," Pierce said. "We actually did this in college. I definitely like the zone scheme. I'm used to it. I got a knack for this kind of offense."
Meanwhile, offensive lineman Jah Reid practiced for the first time since straining his calf in the spring. Reid said he began running again roughly a week ago.
A third-round draft pick Reid is entering the final year of a four-year, $2.6 million contract. Between the injury and an arrest in March in Key West, Fla., on misdemeanor battery charges he's resolved through a pretrial diversion program, Reid had a rough offseason
"I'm going to do my best and compete," Reid said. "It feels really good. I'm glad to get a couple reps and knock off some rust and get ready to go. It's always disappointing to suffer an injury and a setback like that and not be able to practice.
"You feel like you're a little behind, but these couple of days I'm making up a little bit what I missed out on. No restrictions, I'm ready to go. I'm feeling good. I'm getting my wind back."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he's pleased with the progress he's seen from Pierce and Reid.
"These two days they both looked good," Harbaugh said. "They both looked fine, they have no problems. There are some full-speed type drills out there, not contact, but the speed of it, and they had no problems.
"We'll work them through the first two days. Thursday and Friday are both full-speed, but they're not full-contact. So, that'll be another chance for them to take the next step that way. I don't anticipate any problems."
Nose tackle Terrence Cody is on the physically uanable to perform list after undergoing hip surgery this offseason.
Harbaugh said it's unclear when Cody will be cleared to practice.
I really don't have an expectation on that right now," Harbaugh said. "We're on a timeline. We'll just have to see how he's doing and what our needs are. He's coming along. He's doing a good job. He's just not 100 percent ready to go yet, but working hard and very serious about what he's doing.
"Real happy with him. He's very determined. He thinks that with his hip being healthy that he's going to be able to show what he can do for the first time in his career. I'm hoping he's right. I'd like to see his best."
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