In the autumn just past, Mark Ingram and the Ravens were rolling right along.
They rolled along to rushing records and the AFC No. 1 seed before they were on the tracks when the locomotive known as Derrick Henry and the Titans rolled through them.
Nonetheless, disappointed as he is and despite 1,500-plus carries and 7,000-plus career yards’ worth of tread on his tires, Ingram doesn’t believe he’ll be slowing down any time soon.
"I’m just blessed and thankful the Lord has my body feeling this way," Ingram told the media on Tuesday, via team transcript. "I’m with a great team that takes care of me, and I feel like I can play this game at a high level — at the highest level — for at least another four or five years. I feel like that. I honestly do. My body feels good. I’m moving good. I have nothing really lagging. If I do, I’ll be working on it, rehabbing it, strengthening it up, so all my weaknesses are turning into my strengths. I just want to be the best, man. I want to be one of the best."
On the second team of his decorated career and heading into his 10th season, the 30-year-old back is on the heels of his third 1,000-yard campaign — all of them having come in the last four seasons. His 1,018 yards a season ago aided in the Ravens establishing a new NFL team rushing record with 3,296 yards as he and Lamar Jackson became just the second RB-QB tandem to produce 1,000-rushing seasons in the the same year.
"When you talk about running backs who had long, prestigious careers, I want to be in that discussion. I want to be talked about that way," Ingram said. "I just want to be the best player that I can be. I want to win championships, and I want to do it at a high level, and I feel like I can do that for a long time. So, God willing, I have health and all that. But yes, it’s not to prove anybody wrong, but it’s basically to prove everyone who believed in me all this time right. And myself, I have goals for myself, man, so I’m chasing them really hard, and I just feel like I’m going to keep getting better with the experience, with the knowledge and how I’m training and taking care of my body mentally, physically [and] emotionally."
Baltimore won an AFC North championship, but as aforementioned was derailed by the Titans in an AFC Divisional Round upset.
Having fallen short of their hopes and expectations, Ingram and Co. will have the same goals and much of the same talent in 2020.
"Obviously, we had dreams and aspirations of winning the whole thing, and unfortunately, we came out and didn’t play our best game," Ingram said of the 28-12 defeat against Tennessee. "Give those guys credit. They took advantage of some of our mistakes. It was just a little bit too much to overcome, and we just ran out of time."
However, going forward, Ingram believes in his mind — and legs — plenty of time remains in his career and for the Ravens to fulfill their title aspirations.
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