Nearly 19 months after being drafted in the second round, Dan Cody is expected to suit up for his first regular-season game Sunday.
With injuries to linebackers Ray Lewis and Mike Smith, Cody is scheduled to play special teams as well as some passing situations on defense. He was known as one of the NFL draft's best pass rushers two years ago, when he left the University of Oklahoma with 25 sacks in 42 games.
"It's a long journey to get where I want to be," Cody said. "Whatever it takes to get there, if it's just one play in one game that springs us for something big, it would be worth it."
Cody, who was rated as a first-round pick by the Ravens, had a tough start to his career when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first training camp practice as a rookie.
After making a full recovery, Cody was projected to be a key backup this season. But the Ravens seemed unsure about his special teams play and made him inactive for the first nine games.
To make matters worse, he was under the impression that he would play special teams in the season opener before coaches told him otherwise. That's why he's trying not to get too excited about the possibility of playing Sunday until he's on the field.
"In this business, you don't ever count your chickens before they hatch," said Cody, who was added to the injury report with an ankle problem. "But I think this is a week where some guys have to step up for injured guys."
It's been an uncomfortable situation for Cody. After being sidelined all last season with an injury, he had to wait for a couple of players to get hurt before he could play this year.
"You don't want to live your life waiting for someone to get hurt," Cody said. "But that's the nature of the business."
While Atlanta Falcons linebacker Ed Hartwell is uncertain whether he'll play in his return trip to Baltimore, the former Raven made it clear that he didn't like the perception that Ray Lewis taught him how to play.
"I didn't take anything from him," Hartwell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He was just there before me. If I was there before him, it would've been the Ed Hartwell show."
Since signing a $26.5 million contract, Hartwell has missed 18 of 25 games because of injuries. Hartwell is questionable with a knee injury.
Tight end Todd Heap, who is questionable with an ankle injury, was not present during the media viewing of practice, which includes stretching and warm-ups. Right guard Keydrick Vincent was added to the injury report as questionable with a groin injury. ... The Ravens are the only team in the NFL to record both a sack and an interception in every game this season. ... The Ravens' defense has allowed three points in the third quarter, the fewest points allowed by any team in any quarter this season. ... The Ravens will host their annual food drive at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All food (canned items, cereal, rice and pasta) goes directly to the Maryland Food Bank.