Ravens rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody takes part in… (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl…)
When rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody passed his conditioning test Wednesday, you almost expected the Ravens to throw a parade.
I say this because the last thing they needed at this training camp was more bad news. It would be a stretch to call the past three days Camp Controversy. But it hasn't exactly been Camp No Worries, either.
Look what the Ravens have dealt with over the past week alone:
They had their injured Pro Bowl safety, Ed Reed, yapping about a new contract and wondering how he could get by on a measly $19.7 million for the next three years.
They learned that Sergio Kindle, their rookie outside linebacker and top draft choice, was out indefinitely after falling down two flights of stairs under mysterious circumstances and fracturing his skull.
They learned that reserve cornerback Cary Williams was slapped with a two-game suspension by the NFL for violating the personal-conduct policy.
And they had fans whining about the new autograph policy that states players will sign only for kids from now on.
(Sure, the new policy has gone smoothly so far. But wait until Friday, when the full team reports and the crowds at training camp swell and the "Budweiser for Breakfast" yahoos show up.)
So the last thing the Ravens needed to hear was that Cody, at 6 feet 4 and 350 pounds, was too fat and out of shape to pass a conditioning test.
But this was the word they received Tuesday, when their second-round draft choice from Alabama failed two tests.
Within minutes, the news was all over the cable sports shows and the Internet, a major embarrassment for a proud team picked by many to go to the Super Bowl.
For his part, Cody was so down about landing on the physically-unable-to-perform list that he wanted to throw himself in front of a bus.
Except there aren't too many buses out in bucolic Carroll County. And if you threw yourself in front of a tractor, it probably wouldn't have the same effect.
"As I was sitting off to the side watching practice, I felt bad," Cody said Wednesday. "I felt I was letting [the team] down."
His mood probably didn't improve a whole lot when his cell phone lit up that night after news of his failed conditioning test was splashed all over the country.
"I had my family calling me and asking me what was going on," he said.
"You got so far," he said they told him. "Don't quit."
So at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Cody stepped onto the dew-covered practice field at McDaniel to take the conditioning test again.
The test involves a series of 25-yard dashes, up and back, that must be completed in a specified amount of time, depending on what position you play.
Cody was nervous, which was understandable. Very nervous. You ask a man that big to run hard anywhere but up and back to a buffet table, he's going to get jittery.
Sure, by taking the test early in the morning, he was beating the heat and humidity of a sizzling Westminster summer.
Cody said: "I had a lot of people behind me, cheering me on and saying 'You'll get it next time,'" including nose tackle Kelly Gregg and defensive end Haloti Ngata.
On the other hand, Cody said it was Ngata who nicknamed him "Cheeseburger," which is sure to stick. And when your teammates call you "Cheeseburger," does that really fill you with confidence to take a conditioning test?
Nevertheless, Cody took off on the whistle and aced the test.
OK, check that.
Maybe he didn't exactly ace the test. But he passed it, freeing himself from the PUP list and sparing the Ravens further national embarrassment.
"It's a credit to him," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who nonetheless expressed surprise that Cody passed the test. "Obviously, it shows he was in shape. He's a little heavy right now. He's got to lose a little weight. But that'll happen in training camp."
Oh, you bet he'll lose weight in camp. The Ravens will work Cody hard over the next six weeks. And they'll watch his diet carefully.
"No cheeseburgers for 'Cheeseburger'" will probably be the operating policy in the team cafeteria.
But the main thing is that Cody was back working out with his teammates Wednesday.
So all in all, it was a good day at Ravens training camp.
The way things were going, it couldn't have come too soon.
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