Rookie LB Kindle awaits word from doctors to return to Ravens

Rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle, who completed a series of neurological exams and awaits Baltimore Ravens doctors' word on when he can return to the field, told the *Carroll County (Md.) Times* he always had faith that he would return after fracturing his skull in a fall earlier this summer.

"I'm confident that I'll be cleared, but I don't have the final say," Kindle said Tuesday in his first interview since he was hurt in late July. "In my opinion, (the tests) went well."

Kindle, a second-round draft pick who is unsigned and won't be offered a contract until he passes a physical, was in Maryland this week for the tests and plans to return to Dallas, his hometown, on Wednesday.

"The doctors are going to give what they need to the team, and they'll make their decision on how they handle it," Kindle said. "They didn't really tell me nothing. They're going to go over it when I leave. I'm ready to see what happens."

Kindle, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound linebacker from Texas, was the first player to be a finalist for the Butkus (best college linebacker) and Hendricks (best defensive end) awards. The two-time All-Big 12 Conference selection was a first-team Sporting News and third-team Associated Press All-American.

Kindle, who suffered a fractured skull in an accident at a house he was visiting in Austin, tweeted last week that he would be on the field "next month."

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh indicated that Kindle was hurt at a "function" with some friends, falling down two flights of stairs, but Kindle told the Carroll County Times that it "wasn't really a function. We were just relaxing."

"It was a big house," Kindle said. "I should have turned the lights on. I was walking around blindly. All I had to do was turn the lights on. I got up to go to the restroom."

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Kindle was hospitalized in Austin, then was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Dallas last month.

Kindle said it never "crossed my mind" that he might not play again. "Faith is important, regardless. It always helps," he said.

He said he understands that he has a long road back and much to learn should be cleared to play.

"The first thing is I hope to get on the team soon," he told the newspaper. "Whenever they think I'm ready to play, I hope to go out there and play. I need to learn the playbook all over again. I haven't seen it since minicamp.

"Basically, I have a lot of catching up to do. Whenever my time comes, I'm going to make it happen."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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