After two lost seasons -- one to a fractured skull, another to an inability to grasp the playbook -- outside linebacker Sergio Kindle reportedly has been one of the more impressive players for the Baltimore Ravens during this year's training camp.
Between the free-agent departure of Jarrett Johnson and Achilles tendon injury to Terrell Suggs, Kindle's emergence couldn't have come at a better time. After logging just 32 snaps, including 15 on defense, Kindle now is squarely in the mix for a starting job along with Paul Kruger and 2012 second-round draft pick Courtney Upshaw.
One issue that continues to work against Kindle is the permanent loss of hearing in his left ear because of the fractured skull he sustained during the summer of 2010. To get around that, the Ravens are exploring the possibility of a helmet equipped with a microphone so Kindle can hear his teammates better on the field, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports.
"It sounded like a good idea," Kindle said of the plan, which Zrebiec describes as being in the preliminary stages. "It was just something that was thrown in the air. It sounded good, if possible."
"If possible" is the operative term. Even though it levels the playing field, such a device could be perceived as giving Kindle and the Ravens an unfair advantage and would have to meet the NFL's approval. There is precedent, however, thanks to the man whose name adorns the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl winner.
When he was coach of the Washington Redskins in 1969, Vince Lombardi ordered tests on the hearing of rookie running back Larry Brown, who was late off the snap of the ball. It was determined that Brown was hearing-impaired in one ear, so a hearing aid was installed in his helmet to helped relay the snap count. Brown went on to play in four Pro Bowls and was league MVP in 1972.
As long as the microphone wasn't connected to a coach or the sidelines, it would be hard to understand why Kindle wouldn't be allowed to use technology from over 40 years ago.