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Flacco: Mental hurdle toughest part of ACL recovery

Joe Flacco's recovery from an ACL tear is one of the least-talked about major injuries this offseason.

Perhaps it's because he's not a running quarterback, so we take it for granted that he'll be the same when he returns. Perhaps it's because there are many other questions about the Baltimore Ravens -- injuries or otherwise. Whatever the reason, we've written and discussed little about the quarterback of a perennial AFC power returning from a major knee injury.

Flacco continues to rehab in anticipation of training camp. He's running and cutting on the knee, but hasn't thrown with velocity much in his comeback. At the end of minicamp, Flacco told the team's official website that the mental aspect of getting hit might be the most difficult hurdle in the process.

"It's funny, when I'm out there running around and cutting on it and doing those things, there is no tentativeness, because I didn't hurt it that way," Flacco said. "I hurt it getting hit.

"I'm curious. It will probably be a little different the first time I take a couple drop-backs and feel a little bit of guys coming in my face. I'll have to step and throw still."

It's interesting hearing a player admit his own mortality. As much as we raise up NFL players as gladiators, they are still human. They still have mental struggles to overcome, same as anyone else.

Flacco injured his knee in Week 11 (Nov. 22) while getting hit, but finished the contest. Until the knee injury, he was an ironman, starting 122 straight regular season contests. Rehabbing a serious injury is a new challenge.

The 31-year-old quarterback understands that he'll have to leap the mental hurdle of getting hit once he drops back into the pocket.

"I don't expect to have those kinds of thoughts linger in my head," Flacco said. "But you never know until you get out there and do it again."

Flacco expects to be ready when training camp opens at the end of July -- eight months after the injury. We anticipate the Ravens bringing their quarterback along slow leading up to the regular season.

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