For the first time in his seven-year career – all with the Ravens – linebacker Albert McClellan will miss a season because of injury after tearing the ACL in his knee during training camp. McClellan, who already underwent surgery and is using crutches to maneuver around the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, said he is using the extra time on his hands to go back to school, per se.

"I'm still a student of the game," he said Wednesday. "I'm still here learning the ins and outs of everything. I'm still trying to find a way to get better mentally. It's just another test and another opportunity for me to grow."

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The loss of McClellan, 31, was a blow for the Ravens, which has relied on McClellan's versatility since he joined the organization as an undrafted rookie in 2010. He is adept enough to play all four linebacker spots in the defense's traditional 3-4 alignment and led the special teams unit in tackles in three of the past six seasons.

McClellan played in 16 games last season and made 11 starts (nine at strong-side linebacker and two at weak-side linebacker), making a career-high 55 tackles.

Special teams coordinator and associate head coach Jerry Rosburg lamented McClellan's absence, saying, "It's certainly not something we were planning on having happen. We're going to miss Albert a great deal, as I said previously. The good news is that Albert is still here helping, still coaching even though he's not playing."

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Since tearing the ACL during a noncontact drill in practice on Aug. 23, McClellan has been eager to dive into the rehabilitation phase of his recovery. Asked if he had a timetable for his return, McClellan quipped, "As soon as they let me."

As frustrating as sitting out for the first time might be, McClellan said being bitter or angry is pointless.

"It's not like I'm mad at the world or anything," he said. "A lot of people are given opportunities. For a lot of people, this is a chance for them to slow down and actually get their house in order. Just basically, now it's time to see how quickly you can rebound and how quickly you can get back up."

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