Tuesday, October 21, 2008
By Dan Kolko
October 16, 2008
Marshal Yanda's season-ending knee injury will be a big loss to the Ravens on the field, but it might affect them just as much off of it.
Yanda was developing into a solid right guard in just his second pro season, but his leadership during practices and his hard-nosed, professional style was what really impressed his teammates.
Players always feel bad when a teammate goes down for the season, but I was a bit surprised at the level of disappointment and sympathy that the Ravens are feeling for Yanda. They really feel for the 24-year-old, knowing how hard he works and how dedicated he is to the team.
Here are just a few of the comments by Ravens' players about Yanda and the impact of his loss:
"You're sick for a guy like Marshal," tight end Todd Heap said. "The mentality, the intensity that he brought to our offense, is going to be extremely missed. That's a guy that just brought that physical mentality every week to practice, to the games. [He is] definitely a guy that I loved lining up with. But it's unfortunate that he's going to [be out], and we're going to miss him."
"I'm really close friends with Marshal, so it affects me as well," left guard Ben Grubbs said. "I hate to see him go down like that because I know that Marshal is a fighter and he doesn't want anything else but to help this team out. For him to go down like that...I feel for him."
"Obviously, we all love Marshal," said quarterback Joe Flacco. "When something like that happens, it's the last thing we want - to see your teammate and your friend on the ground. You feel bad for him. You know he's been working as hard as he possibly can for you all season, and he's been doing a great job."
Losing Yanda for the year is big, but it's a great sign that his teammates are reacting to his injury like this.
For a young guy, he's gained great respect in the locker room, and if he can come back healthy, expect him to be a mainstay on the Baltimore offensive line for years to come.