Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cody scales the conditioning mountain

Huffing and puffing his way across the finish line, massive rookie nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody finally beat the clock and conquered the Baltimore Ravens' challenging conditioning test.

One day after twice flunking a timed running test at McDaniel College, the 6-foot-4, 350-pounder was activated from the physically unable to perform list and joined his teammates for training camp practice as an anchor in the middle of the defensive line.

Cody earned some respect for his perseverance by passing the test at 7 a.m., and he's gained a new nickname from veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata: "Cheeseburger."

While Cody took the joke in stride, he was embarrassed initially when he was unable to make the times.

"I didn't pass and I was kind of down on myself, telling myself I could have worked harder," Cody said. "I had a lot of people behind me, cheering me on after I failed it. It was just like, ‘Get it next time, or try again tomorrow.'

"I had my family call me and ask me what was going on. I had to tell them. I slept on it and got up this morning with a head full of steam and passed it. It was a relief."

And Ngata delivered some comic relief at the big rookie's expense.

"Ngata kind of nicknamed me, ‘Cheeseburger.'" Cody said with a smile. "He calls me that. He's a real nice guy."

Cody weighed 400 pounds a few years ago, so his fitness and nutrition remain a work in progress.

The running test is especially tough for a defensive lineman with Cody's girth.
It consists of running 25 yards, up and back, up and back, up and back, in 35 total seconds. Then, there's a 70-second rest period between intervals. It's repeated six times and the target time remains the same for each run.

With Cody passing the conditioning test, it represents the Ravens' first upset victory of the season.

"I will have to admit that I was surprised this morning when they told me he passed the conditioning test," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We have it on tape, and we will verify the results of that test. I think it's a credit to him.

"Obviously it shows you that he was in shape. He's a little heavy right now. He's got to lose a little weight, but that will happen in training camp. The fact that he's in shape is important. So, it shows you that he's done the work."

Cody was a sloppy 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl all-star game this winter, but got down to 350 pounds by the NFL scouting combine. He said he weighs about 350 pounds, which was his weight at minicamp.

"Around that range," Cody said.

The Ravens wouldn't specify what kind of target weight they have for the consensus All-American from Alabama. During the spring, a goal of 340 pounds was bandied about for Cody by team officials.

"I don't want to put a number on it," Harbaugh said. "We have that number and we'll get him to that number, but that's not something I want to share right now."
It's rare for a nose guard to run distances as long as 25 yards unless something disastrous has happened like a long run or reception.

Plus, the Ravens believe that Cody can be more than just a run-stuffer who operates on first and second down and is off the field in passing situations.

"We didn't label him as just this and just that. We basically think this guy can play football for us," Harbaugh said. "So whatever he grows into, if he can push the pocket on third down for us, that would be great. I see no reason why he can't do that for us. That's what training camp is all about. That's why you put the pads on."

Cody has already become a popular figure in the locker room.

Fellow Alabama football alum Jarret Johnson, the Ravens' starting outside linebacker was impressed with Cody passing the first test. There will be many more to come, though, in the form of taking on veteran blockers.

"We weren't too hard on him," Johnson said. "That's a tough task, especially for those big guys. Guys who are 350 or so, to run that test is pretty impressive."

Photo by Dave Munch, Carroll County Times

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