A knee injury cost Baltimore Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon the entire 2017 season.
Dixon suffered a torn meniscus prior to training camp a year ago and had to undergo season-ending surgery, but earlier this week he pronounced himself good to go and ready to build upon his strong rookie campaign in 2016.
"The knee feels very good," Dixon told the team's official website. "Battling some things you have to battle when you get back on the field with flexibility and all those things, but the knee feels totally well and I'm just ready to play."
Dixon was expected to compete for the starting job last season after rushing for 382 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. He also had 30 catches and a receiving score.
A fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2016, Dixon's injury opened the door for Alex Collins to seize the role of lead running back a year ago.
Baltimore routinely plays a number of running backs so there figures to be plenty of snaps available for Collins, Dixon and Javorius Allen, especially with the retirement of pass-catching back Danny Woodhead.
"It feels amazing to be back," said Dixon. "You never know what you take for granted until you lose it. Losing football for a year opened my eyes to a lot of things."
Dixon had been suspended four games in March 2017 for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He received an additional two-game ban in September but was allowed to serve it while on injured reserve.
"Coming with the guys and everybody upbeat and forgiving of the situation, I just appreciate it," Dixon said, specifically thanking Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh. "I definitely learned a lot. I brought some old habits that I had when I was in college.
"You've got to realize that you're not the big man on campus anymore and every rule applies to you. Just have to follow the rules and work hard and you won't have anything to worry about."